Friday, 12 July 2013

Shades of grey

The natural world is unbelievably crowded; the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds suggests that one baby Blue Tit alone eats some 150 caterpillars a day (although the Youth section of their website has this nice little story about one that got away).

If you look carefully, you can find the romantic activity necessary for this fecundity, as in my top picture of a couple of mating Daddy Longlegses. I almost got a snap of two iridescent blue damselfly in similiar flagrante but they flew off (still attached and still presumably in bliss; they have little hooks to secure their fragile union). You can get a bit over-prurient, however. I stealthily took the second picture of what I mistook for a coupling. A you can see, it turned out to be dead, rolled fringes of nettle leaf.

One lovely result of past meetings flutters round Penny and me at the moment in multitudes on our main local walk: scores of graceful Marbled Whites whose chequerboard pattern turns in flight into soft and subtly-changing shades of grey (no pun intended and apologies to anyone brought here by Google and my headline while searching for something else...).

And to end with, another product of insect love. Does anyone know what this caterpillar, found on local ragwort in Oxfordshire, is going to turn into?


David Shenton said...


Your cat looks like one of the Arctiidae, I'd say Ruby Tiger.



MartinWainwright said...

Thanks very much, Dave, that's interesting. It doesn't look like my (rather old) caterpillar guide's pic of the Ruby Tiger - not hairy enough; but maybe it was an immature one? All v best - hope you are enjoying this amazing weather


Ina said...

This is cool!