Northern Lights

Photographing the bridges of Newcastle on Saturday night provided sharp contrast to experiencing nightfall at Chris Watson and Ian Paite’s sound installation, Hrafn: In Conversation with Odin in the Kielder Forest. A terrific whistle stop visit.

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Smooth Newt in the garden

A gently lifted flint boulder in the garden this evening revealed this sandy brown Smooth Newt. Mostly likely a female or immature male, she remained relatively still during exposure to our peering gaze. Smooth newt Lissotriton vulgaris; formerly Triturus vulgaris Outside of the breeding season they are nocturnal, taking refuge under…

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Sexing a hoverfly

As mentioned in the previous post, differentiating between sexes of insects can often be tricky but in the case of hoverflies and the Marmalade Hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus in particular, it is relatively straightforward, especially with two similar photographs to refer to.  In males the area covered by their compound eyes is significantly…

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The time of the hoverflies

On the still hot days of late June and early July, the hoverflies cover the flowerbeds, hanging from invisible threads before settling on flower landing pads to feed. This seems to be their time in the garden, just as the bee fly seemed to dominate the scene back in April. A…

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Setting up an outdoor aquarium

This spring an outdoor aquarium has provided quite literally hours of entertainment as we have been able to watch the development and metamorphosis of pond-life right in front of our noses.The experiment began with the purchase of a tank. Almost anything will do. In the end I bought a small…

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Tawnies in the treetops

An adult Tawny Owl Strix aluco perches on a telegraph pole.  Over the last few nights we have been visited by a family group of Tawny Owls, made up of three fledged owlets and at least one adult. They have taken to perching in our tall garden Ash tree or call in…

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The breast is yet to come

This fledgling robin, like many of the young birds in the garden, is more tolerant of human curiosity than its adult counterparts. Perched less than two feet away in the apple tree it posed for some time before hopping off into the branches.

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Hawkmoth on the Honeysuckle

Hummingbird Hawkmoth Macroglossum stellatarum  This Hawkmoth is the closest thing we get to a hummingbird in the UK. When we have seen them in the past it has usually been later in the summer, feeding on phlox nectar on still evenings in the garden. Their delicate proboscis extends further than…

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