Welcome to my blog

This is where I post various musings about wildlife and ecology, observations of interesting species (often invertebrates)
and bits of research that grab my attention. As well as blogging, I undertake professional ecological & wildlife surveys
covering invertebrates, plants, birds, reptiles, amphibians and some mammals, plus habitat assessment and management
. I don't work on planning applications/for developers. The pages on the right will tell you more about my work,
main interests and key projects, and you can follow my academic work here.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

In spring the pond goes sproing

After a long, cold early spring, the last couple of weeks have been warm, dry and sunny - and the season has leapt at the opportunity. Butterflies are flying, birds are nest-building, bees are pollinating. All good things. As a microcosm of this rapid seasonal burst of activity the denizens of our garden pond have been distracting me from computer-based tapping and drawing me out to sit by and watch, camera in hand. Our pond's not huge, but a lot of care was taken to ensure variety of structure (and thus habitat) - here are a few of the occupants taking advantage of it.

The fly Elgiva cucularia. It is a member of the family Sciomyzidae that specialise in hunting snails - of which we have plenty. This species is associated with boggy conditions and I have recorded it several times on our pond vegetation, so the shallow, algae filled section is clearly doing its job.
A Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula posing obligingly on my finger.
One of at least six smooth newts living in our pond. This shot was taken with a waterproof endoscope which I'm still new at using.
Some of this year's batch of frogspawn.
Two pond snails busily engaged in making more snails. The whitish structure top-right is indeed a snail penis AKA 'love-dart'.

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