Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Garden

It was a chilly start this morning as we set out for our walk.  The forecast was for a sunny, warm day, so we decided on a longer walk around Mapperley village and the reservoir.  as we started off, we were greeted by the sight of hundreds (if not thousands) of spiders' webs in the grass, covered with morning dew and almost glowing in the early sun.
The reservoir at Mapperley was still and peaceful, apart from the ducks quacking and the Great Crested Grebes calling across the mill-pond-flat water.  Our walk was punctuated by the scolding of a Magpie in the tree overhead.  It was obviously very upset by our presence and showed it by it's chattering, machine-gun like shouts.  But what a beautiful bird when the sunlight catches the iridescence in it's feathers.
Back home and a look around the garden reveals more spiders.  Garden Spiders (Araneus diadematus) have taken over the garden.  Their webs seem to be strung between every branch, every leaf and fence.  Just walking down the garden to get to the shed has turned into an obstacle course and you have to keep your wits about you if you don't want to get a face full of web.  While looking around the garden yesterday, I spotted a rather colourful little caterpillar in the Pyracantha.  This is the larva of a Grey Dagger Moth (Acronicta psi), a plain, grey, easily overlooked moth of the family Noctuidae.  Before turning into the adult moth, the caterpillar is very attractive with it's red, yellow, black and white colouring - as well as the long hairs which help to deter bird attack.
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