Until July 2017, documenting the seasons of coastal Dorset. I'm a complete amateur so don't trust I'm always right. If ever you see I'm wrong - whether with identifications or in anything else - do say! Meanwhile . . . I've now moved to Halifax in West Yorkshire. Click on the link below to collect the new URL. Don't forget to follow there!

Tuesday, 3 July 2012


How's your tree following?

SWOLLEN-THIGHED BEETLE (Oedemera (Oedemera) nobilis
(Oedemera (Oedemera) nobilis)
When I chose my clump of elderberry trees I decided to follow a particular leaf bud on one of them. 'This,' I thought 'will be interesting'.

At first, it was. But once the leaf had opened, it got stuck where it was. Everything else grew. I keep returning to the tree to photographing the non-growing leaf - but the results are hardly riveting. I've been back to take pictures of the flowers - then they were cut off by the council as it came by on its annual trim back. Most of the blossom was shaken off when they did it so there are spikes where the flowers were and very few berries.

Fortunately, there are others close nearby so I'll add what happens to them in my extended tree.

It's a cross over moment. Berries are forming but there are flowers still. They are neither as profuse nor as big as in other years (there have been seasons when the trees and bushes look as if they are spinning big, white plates) . . . and on them . . . here! above . . . A Swollen-thighed Beetle. And just look at its thighs too! I didn't name it. I'd have called it 'The Beetle With Massive Thighs' for it isn't ill. Its legs aren't swollen because it hasn't been taking enough exercise. This is its natural state. And isn't it beautiful? I think he's a he and his presence diverted me from my elderberry intentions.

Already we were coming to the end of National Insect Week and I had already taken a few pictures of insects that morning and the day before so I hurried home and . . . began to find out (with the help of iSpot) what they are.

On blackberry flowers (where the fruits are already forming)

Honey Bee (Apis mellifera)
Honey Bee (Apis mellifera)

a Honey Bee (Apis mellifera)

Two Bees on a Thistle: Common Carder Bee (Bombus (Thoracombus) pascuorum) and Bombus hortorum

And sharing a (Spear?) thistle;

Garden Bumble Bee (Bombus (Thhoracombus) pascuorum) on a thistle

on the right, a Garden Bumble bee
Common Carder Bee (Bombus (Thoracombus) on a Thistle(Bombus hortorum)

and, on the left, a Common Carder bee
(Bombus (Thoracombus) pascuorum)

Shield Bugs mating (Palomena prasina) on rose flower

Single roses in the hedgerow

are host to Shield Bugs mating
(Palomena prasina)

or waiting (?) in the sunshine, on hips already forming

Lagria Hirta (which, I think, is also called a 'Darkling Beetle'

a Lagria Hirta (which, I think, is also called a 'Darkling Beetle', beautiful name, no?).

The Sycamore I've been following for the last few years.

As for the tree following? Can't let go of the Sycamore. Some of the ivy has been stripped from it or cut - but, here it is still, being magnificent!

I expect I should have posted this a week ago. Never mind - here's a Happy Insect Week; after all, insects are here every week.


Mark Willis said...

Those are some of the best bee photos I have ever seen! And one of them helped me to identify a type I have seen in my garden - the Common Carder bee. I wonder is it does carding?

Mark Willis said...

I mean "IF it does carding" of course. Carding is to do with wool preparation if I remember rightly.

Toffeeapple said...

Marvellous pictures Lucy, you got lucky with the amount of creatures willing to pose for you! Those Beetles are stunning.

I haven't been following a tree this year, but I think I shall soon, there are a few interesting ones locally, two of them are Mirabelle fruit trees - free dessert!

Lucy said...

Hello Mark. Glad you like the bee photos. The little carder bee is delightfully bright and fluffy. Re. carding - I used to spin - and would card to prepare the wool. Carders are sort of curved boards on sticks with pins sticking out. You pull them against each other with bits of fleece between to separate the fibres and make them face the same way. Can't imagine a bee doing that!

Hello Toffeeapple. Maybe, when you follow a tree again you will decide to blog? Glad you like the beetles. They were easier to photograph than the honey bee. I was following it between flowers because it didn't stay long on any one. By the time I'd focused it would be up and away or hidden by petals. Nice thing about digital photography - you don't have to be careful about the number of frames you use.

Bridget said...

Wonderful pics Lucy! Gosh I can't even remember which tree I said I'd follow. I think it was Twisted Willow. Must do a tree post soon.

Donna said...

I need to get back to a tree post soon...I love all your insects...I have been concentrating on getting to know those who ar ein my garden except for the Japanese beetles which must go.

easygardener said...

Lovely pictures - though you are making me feel guilty that I have not followed up on my plan to identify insects in my own garden.
I will, however, be examining the thighs on any beetles I see from now on.

sharon said...

Coll insects!

elaine rickett said...

Hi Lucy - though you might be interested to know that I saw a hummingbird hawk-moth this evening it was feeding on my sweet williams - I was chuffed to monkeys to see it - shame I didn't have my camera with me. typical.

Plant Chaser said...

Lots of nice insect captures, Lucy.
- Bom / PlantChaser

Rita said...

Lucy, as usual your photos are wonderful. I'm not a fan of bugs but your shots do them justice. I know they are important to the harmony of nature but I get a creepy feeling when I get near one.

Wildgardener said...

Great insect images - and a name check for Insect Week too. I'm now thinking I need to go and 'find' my tree and find out how it's getting on - when it stops raining (if it stops raining).

PatioPatch said...

Hi Lucy - missed my tree last month so it was lovely to reacquaint myself now.
Must look out for the irridescent swollen thighed beetle. I learn something every time with you- better than ispot!