Emptying out a flowerpot I noticed some very striking orangey pink woodlice at the bottom of it. I don't recall seeing such things before so I had to look them up, but lo and behold I hadn't discovered a new species in my garden (it's always the way). They are Androniscus dentiger – also known as the rosy woodlouse or pink woodlouse.

22. July 2012 · 3 comments · Categories: Birds

You may recall the installation of my cardboard bird box, where I wondered how well it would survive. Well technically it has survived, but it's not looking very inviting to the average family of birds. There's no evidence of nesting, but it often takes a long time for boxes to get used so that doesn't really prove anything.

I'll leave it in place to see whether eagles start nesting in it anytime soon.

Update, Spring 2013: It bit the dust over the winter and is now contributing to the compost heap. Oh well, it was fun whilst it lasted.

Summer is here! Fearing it might only last one weekend I spent all of it in the garden, though actually it looks like we have at least a week of hot sunshine ahead. Time in the garden equals time spotting interesting wildlife, and I saw this beetle (or different instances of it, who can tell) on three separate occasions – usually landing on the big white flower clusters of Hydrangeas or Phlox.

It is a Spotted longhorn beetle (Rutpela maculata) and apparently quite common. It feeds on the pollen and nectar of flowers, with its larvae living in rotten wood. I have a dead tree stump in my garden that swarms with insects coming in and out of holes and I like to think it's a great source of flying variety. I see a lot of exotic looking solitary wasps and bees coming and going from it.

It's been raining so much recently that I haven't been able to find a dry moment to mow the lawn, but that lawn has been growing fast. And with it, all the weeds that usually stay close cropped and never get to flower properly are doing their thing. I took some photos, getting down on my hands and knees with a macro lens and here's the first for you: White clover.

Did you know that it's edible in a number of ways and is actually part of the pea family? Furthermore it is sometimes deliberately included in lawn-seed mixes because it can green over even in tough conditions. Suddenly I'm thinking it's not a weed at all.


The BBC reports on the impact on fauna and flora of the multi-month wet spell this 'summer'. In a nutshell, plants, slugs and snails win – though my Lupins would beg to disagree, the slugs and snails being all conquering in that portion of the garden. Bees, butterflies and birds are particularly hard hit. All the details are in the article.

I've seen Wolf spiders carrying their egg sacs around plenty of times before – it's a very common sight in the garden, but never a Grass spider with its egg sac. I was astounded when I happened across one today at the size of that sac. Most ungainly!

Here's another view. Both pictures courtesy of iPhone, so not great technically, but adequate.