All photos on this blog, Wildlife on Wheels, are taken by me. If you want to use any of my photos for anything other than personal use, send me an email and we'll talk about it. The email address is listed in the sidebar on the right .

Save Dunmanus Bay

Friday, July 30, 2010

Garden Ants: Nuptial Flight of the females

Female Garden Ant, Larus niger trying uot her wings to fly for her first and only nuptial flight.
Only the females in the colony will fly out.

here you can see the size difference between an ordinary worker in the colony and female members of the Ant society. Females will grow wings, mate and set up new colonies. Not all of these will be succesful though. The new queens will become major egg-laying machines, so to speak; hence the large body. After mating, she wil store enough sperm for the rest of her life. Being able to lay millions, if not more, eggs to help guarantee the future of this successful specie.
An interesting fact: The global Ant population weigh as much as the human population does.!

They time their nuptial flight to just the right temperature, time of year (usually late july or early August) and level of humidity too, perhaps? That it needs to be dry speaks for itself, as they had trouble enough already, it seemed.

After about 3 weeks of wet weather where we had either showers or lashing rain, with dry intervals now and then. The wind had been strong during most of this year's summer too, keeping me from rides on the road for a lot of these months.
Last Monday, there was a change in the weather. It was close, no breeze at all, and I had a peculiar feeling all day. Then at about 5pm, Nina (our cat) went through the kitchen door, going outside for a quick wee before tea. As she went out, I saw a flutter of winged Insects flying up from what I assumed was the path under her feet. They all fluttered up into the air. Flying up was too big a word for the way they went, up.
As I sat in the doorway, i spotted these female Ants pushing themselves out of the lock of the door. They had wings alright, but that did not mean that they were able to fly yet! Winthin a few minutes, I was covered in very large Ants, flapping the wings; unsure what to do with these.
They walked up the door frame, thinking that height would help them in take off. Soon, most fell off!

Just outside of the door, tiny Spiders were waiting in anguish; they must have recognised the time in summer, and were waiting for the unlucky ones, whose legs would let go too early.

You cannot see much here, but look at the two white eyes of the Spider, as it takes a look who has offered itself to be his/her next meal.
They had a field day! Probably for days/week9s?) on end. They weer tiny in comparison to the Ant. Unfortunately, it was too windy for sharp images; they kept swinging from end to end.

Here the Spider is wrapping its catch laboriously.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Macro Monday: Feather, Fluff and Bristles

When you walk past hedgerows and banks, look down for once. It is amazing what is suspended down there. All I did was the B&W.
If you want to take part in Macro Monday, go to Lisa's (Chaos) blog, and sign up there. It is easy and fun.

Just a bit of fluff, suspended.

One of those days where the weather has not yet decided yet what it is going to do for the day. However it was mostly my own fault that this Hawkbit picture came out ovrexposed.

Behind the house, an old broom is in 'retirement'. The bristles have broken off, here and there.

Recently, Blogger has given me a real headache when uploading photos. Some pictues, like this one, gets rotated during uploading, and I wonder has any other blogger had this problem? ( And a solution too, perhaps?)

And no, it is not pasta!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Insects plus a Leucistic Ladybird in Wild Angelica, Angelica sylvestrus

If you know any of these specie identities, let me know please.

This Ladybird looks very pale, and was about 50-80mm long.

This Insect is a mystery to me too. I've seen it in the garden also.

Wild Angelica, Angelica sylvestrus,

The Groundsel, Senecio vulgaris, provides pollen and nectar for many hungry species.

This lovely Wild Flower is new to me; its beautiful little white flowers were filling large blocks along the road, with the pink of Herb Robert, Geranium robertium, growing among them.

LichenCaloplaca thallincola

Meadowsweet, Filipendula ulmaria

Crocusmia, Crocusmia crocusmiflora
The sight of these made me think suddenly that August and September are almost here. Crocusmia is one of those flowers which adorn our roads in late summer; to be followed soon with Fuchsia, Fuchia magellanica

Monday, July 19, 2010

Macro Monday: Spear Thistle, Cirsium vulgare.

Spear Thistle, Cirsium vulgare.

This Thistle growsfrom under my front garden wall. On the path, so to speak. I had been waiting for it to open up. What doesn't show here is that the pollen made the flower sparkle and the white sticky pollen looked like metallic tips to the shiny purple ends. The Sun intensified this even more.

This is how the same flower looks now, 2 days later. All pollen has gone. And the heart has closed.
It was not easy taking this picture; the flowerhead had turned itself sideways instead of upwards and leaving me less room to take a photo.

Last week I went out for a ride along my patch, after about 12-14 days of rain or showers. In my own garden the Nettles at the back and in front of the shed, had been flattened mostly. These Thistles had suffered from the long and heavy rainfall too.

The most amazing thing with Thistles is that they will not give up, whatever happens. The prickly flowerheads have an ability to twist their poition and way they catch the light. They would have hit the ground; yet they refuse to die. Instead the Thistle turns the entire flowerhead, and in this case, all 3, around from facing the ground to facing upright into the direction of the light.

It would be a nice sight of seeing the flowers in bloom, whilst lying on the ground. I'll keep an eye on them.

The Thistle at my house too, had to endure a fair few showers. The flowers had been facing up, towards the sky. i remember as I had to elevate my wheels in order to take the photo below, so that I could look down at it. In order to protect its flower, it too, moved sideways, so that the rain would not drench the heart of the flower, where the seeds will be produced.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

7 spot Lady bird and other IInsects.

I'd welcome any tips on the identities of the Insects featured below.
This beautiful micro, 1.8mm long, hitched a ride with me the other day, and I fell in love as soon as it started to climb onto the control panel of my wheels, from underneath. It must have hopped on at the side of the house, where the Brambles fall over the path, and I started to cut it back again. Then, as I sat taking photos of the Zebra Spider, it appeared suddenly.

a few days earlier, I had seen these two in the back, on the Bindweed at the Stinging Nettle. Urtica dioica.

As was this, beautifully coloured critter.
Isn't it amazing how the green of the leaf and the yellow/green of the creature match?

Is it a larvae of a Beetle perhaps? It reminds me a little of the larvae of this lovely Beetle.

A Seven spot Lady Bird.
It is amazing how fast it moved. also, it was very easy to hide from me, either underneath a leaf of the Nettle or behind the trusses of flowers. Therefore, I failed to get a face to face picture. And I cannot blame these beautiful little ones. if they weren't this quick, there would be a lot less in our gardens.
Hiding among the flowers of the Nettle

Scarlet Pimpernel, Anagallis arvensis.

Herb Robert, Geranium robertianum

some kind of Hawkbit.

Again I appeal to you, who does know the ID of the creatures shown in this post, to leave a comment below, as I am still learning my Insects and other Invertrebates. Any tips on a good book is welcome too.