For illustrated talks on natural history and history see

For illustrated talks on natural history and history click here for

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Wool Carder Bee, Anthidium manicatum, Leafcutter Bee, Megachile sp, and Common Carder Bees today.

 Above, Stachys sp. or Lamb's ears in front of "Queen of Denmark" rose under planted (or rather invaded as I didn't plant it!) with Common Bird's-foot-trefoil, Lotus corniculatus.

 These flowers are enjoyed by Common Carder Bees in my garden.

 Whilst Lamb's ears are a magnet for Wool Carder Bees, Anthidium manicatum

 A neighbour has a hole in the mortar of the house, which has been utilised by an enterprising Megachile sp. a Leafcutter Bee.

On the 20 June 2018 the bee has now blocked the nest with a plug of leaves. for more info' from RHS.

Common Carder Bees continue to pollinate my Runner Beans
Click any picture to expand it.
And for a public speaker on bees..... please see

Friday, 15 June 2018

Seven orchid species on a South Downs walk yesterday afternoon

 Pyramidal orchid
 Greater Butterfly-orchid

 Bee orchid

Common Twayblade with convolvulus above and Common-spotted orchid below.

 Fly orchid
 Fragrant orchids

 Pyramidal orchid
Common-spotted, Fragrant and Pyramidal orchids.
See also  Click on any picture to expand it.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Rebuffed advances in a garden pond from a handsome, wing-flashing tiny fly

click the video to see the flashing wings ritual.
Tiny iridescent flies were flashing approval and disapproval in their seduction dances this afternoon on a lily pad in this Sussex garden pond.

If anyone can identify these flies, I should be grateful, having had no success yet to do so.
Click on any picture to enlarge it.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Jumping spider, Salticus zebraneus in Cuckfield, West Sussex, UK on Styrax japonica tree.

Styrax japonica is a flowering small tree loved by bumblebees at this time of year.  It was while looking specifically for Red-tailed cuckoo bees that I spotted a much rarer creature -- a Jumping spider, Salticus zebraneus.
 Spot the spider "hiding" in the shadow after running away from my camera lens.
Britain's Spiders (ISBN 978-0-691-16529-5 by Bee, Oxford and Smith) describes it as nationally and regionally scarce on trunks of old trees.  It hides in cracks in the bark only appearing at the surface in warm, sunny conditions as it was yesterday.
 Only 3-4 mm long it was difficult to photograph in the middle of the Styrax tree.

 It has eight eyes, the middle four large and forward facing.
Jumping spider in my kitchen on 19August 2017

The pictures in the tree don't show the eyes well at all.  The photo' above was taken in 2017 in my kitchen using a flash.  They don't have eyelids but it would have blinked if it had!

I didn't find the Cuckoo bumblebee that I hoped to see but this spider was yet more interesting.
Spiders are amazing creatures and worthy of a closer look.

They are presented in an illustrated talk,  "Spiders: fascinating and worthy of a closer look" at

Click on any picture to expand it.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Pollen: too much of a good thing sometimes.

What is this strange yellow stuff on a hazel leaf?  Have a guess before you scroll down.

At this time of year pollen is a vital food for bees.
This Buff-tailed Bumblebee has bulging pollen sacs and a mite.
A smaller solitary bee can get a bit overwhelmed with pollen.
 On a hazel leaf it can scrape off unwanted pollen with two or more of its six legs.
 After a good scrape a pile of pollen is left behind on the leaf.
 Just need to clean up the head now.  Click the video for the action.

The pollen that was scraped off initially.

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