29 February, 2016

Salticus scenicus

Last week I partook in my first twitch of the year, hoping to show a friend the overwintering Short-eared Owls at Kempsey just a couple of miles south of Worcester. Despite being reported on a daily basis since the start of February, with up to five openly hunting across fields in broad daylight, we failed to connect with the birds in the two hours spent searching, and our attention inevitably turned to the local insect life.

On the south-facing wall of Kempsey church - extremely well camouflaged against the stone - Jumping Spiders (Salticus scenicus) were hunting too...

18 February, 2016

Signs of spring

Took a walk along the footpath that run by the side of our student house this morning, in the hope that fresh air would shrug off the last of a cold that has been nagging at me for the past week.

I don't want to speak too soon but it seems to have done the trick. Lying in bed with the curtains drawn swallowing paracetamol every few hours does nothing for me, but just a few minutes standing outside with the sun on my face worked wonders on clear the feeling of grogginess from my head - there were even some signs along the path that spring is just around the corner.

Phytomyza ranunculi leaf mine

Pseudotaxiphyllum elegans

Carpets of Lesser Celandine decorate field margins and road sides throughout Worcester at the moment

13 February, 2016

New blog header

Regular (and irregular) visitors will notice that I've added a new header to the blog - a photo of a Short-eared Owl quartering Staines Moor on a crisp, misty December afternoon back in 2012.

Compared to previous headers of late, this one is slightly different in that the subject is a bird and not a moth - the first such bird photo I've uploaded to the blog since January 2015. What started out back in 2008 as a medium through which to 'showcase' my awful bird photography in Bushy Park has - over the years - turned into an almost solely insectivorous blog.

It's quite interesting, for me anyway, to look back and find the point at which blog content switched from birds to other stuff. Such a transition seems to take place in spring 2013, when I attempted to take on pan-species listing for the first time as part of the '1000for1ksq' challenge - mosses, plants and other taxonomic groups I wouldn't have previously batted an eyelid at started to appear, and birds have taken a bit of a back foot.

I do hope to get more content posted up here as the weather begins to warm and things begin to emerge from the cold, but the likelihood of this including anything much bird-related is doubtful. I still take my binoculars wherever I go and get great enjoyment out of birding, but that is as far it goes. I no longer worry about photographic opportunities I could miss out on if I go out birding without my DSLR, and as a result my motivation to carry it is dwindling.

In other news, Black Sabbath's self-titled debut album is 46 years old today. Enjoy.