The weather's good enough for gardening again finally, and there's a lot to do out there! But digging around in the soil means finding beasties. Here's a new one for me that I had to look up: a Ground beetle larva. It is about 3cm long with legs at the front and is a surprisingly athletic mover compared to Chafer grubs which wiggle but not much more.

It also has a set of curved pincers at the end, just visible on the right side in the photograph above, which initially had me looking up "earwig larva" on Google. However it turns out that Earwigs don't work like that – they don't have a larval stage! Instead the go through several molts as nymphs that look much like the adult only smaller. But I digress.

It assume it turns into the classic, medium sized black beetle that you often see scurrying about the garden – also quite a quick mover!

The BBC reports on the growing threat from non-native plants escaping form our gardens and colonising the British countryside. I shan't go any further in summarising the article here, but I will ask the question over what is and isn't natural and native? Plants that are pretty or have other redeeming qualities are selected by humans for their gardens, and this allows them to take over new territories, which sounds like just another aspect of natural selection, evolution and the way the living world works. Our attempts to stop the progress of nature in its tracks seem doomed to fail and just as unnatural as what it tries to prevent! But that's just my naive devil's advocate position.

In the last week I've noticed the yearly phenomenon whereby Blue tits (and some others) can be seen working their along the thin branches of trees and shrubs picking at the newly emerging buds. I assumed they might be eating them, but a bit of research suggests that they are pulling them apart in search of bugs. I wonder how much damage they actually do? Presumably not too much as the small Willow they're particularly fond of in my garden doesn't lack for leaves each year.