On a walk through the woods on the Ashridge Estate, I happened across a large Weevil running along the handrail of a footbridge. It wouldn't stop moving for a photograph so I slowed it down by making it scale the forest of my forearm. Here it is perched on my watch-strap.

The most obvious Weevily feature is quite evident: a snout with bent antenna protruding from it. This specimen is probably Curculio nucum (Hazelnut weevil or Acorn weevil commonly, depending on where you're from). As the name suggests, it eats out the inside of acorns.

And finally, I'll finish on a joke that's only marginally more amusing than the pun of the title. Two weevils grew up together in a wood. One went to work in the city and became a respected financier. The other stayed behind in the woods and never amounted to much. The second one, naturally, became known as the lesser of two weevils.

It hardly seems to have stopped raining throughout August. Are we going to break on through to a mellow autumn? Not if this forecasting site is to be believed, predicting cooler temperatures than average and much wetter too for Autumn 2010 in the UK.


This is always the best time of year to see Jays as they come out into the open in search of acorns. You'll often see them making short, low flights from the trees to open ground where they bury (or try to find) their food. This morning there were three all together in my garden, acting comically as is the way of Corvids (the crow family in general).

I'm not sure if these are juveniles but I suspect so, that being why they were together as a group perhaps. These are perhaps the most exotic looking birds you'll see in the garden, and since they're not so regular spotted it's particular nice to get three at once. The bird above is eyeing up a feeder, and was also eating the fat ball fragments left on the stump itself.


A quick roundup of quirky nature stories from the last few months, all from The Telegraph's web site, in case you didn't happen across them at the time.



I've covered grass spiders before, but this is a great picture – beautiful colour against the ageing teal blue paint of my shed. I assume it was sunning itself.

Things I've noticed recently:

  • There are lots of spiders about, of all types.
  • There are lots of Harvestmen about, including lots of big but short legged varieties that I haven't especially noticed before.
  • Ants have started building large hills of soil around the garden. Including in the middle of low-growing plants, hence burying said plant!
  • Plants are growing at a tremendous rate, probably because of all the rain recently, mixed with a decent amount of sun and warm temperatures.
  • The leaves are turning and starting to fall from some trees. Autumn is just around the corner.
  • Bird poo from those visiting feeders tends to kill the plants directly beneath. This isn't a seasonal observation specifically.


This post does exactly what it says on the tin.


The BBC reports (amongst others) that a disease is being spread amongst birds at feeders and is impacting Greenfinch and Chaffinch populations. Greenfinches are down 35% in some areas apparently and advice is to keep your feeders and bird baths clean to minimise communication of the disease.

One theory is that Greenfinches in particular are affected because of their tendency to crowd feeders in groups, hence spreading the disease. The picture above demonstrates that tendency nicely, complete with mid-air queuing.



Continuing the butterfly theme, here's a fairly similar specimen to the Gatekeeper in the last post. The difference is subtle at a glance, but this one is a Meadow brown, probably a female. The main difference is that the hind wings have almost zero orange, and there's less orange on the forewings too. Confusing the issue is that males of both species have less orange on the forewings so a male Gatekeeper could look a bit like a female Meadow brown.


Another day, another butterfly. Be thankful it's not a spider – my mother's complained about the nasty shocks she gets when I post a spider on the blog, so I resisted the temptation today. This fine specimen of a butterfly is a Gatekeeper, also known colloquially as the Hedge brown. In this case you can tell it is a female because it lacks the 'sex brands' on the forewings, which look like dark brown burn marks on the male, spoiling that big patch of orange.