Actually this one was seen on the edge of woodland amongst the grass and leaf litter, rather than in the garden. It's quite a striking example with a notably wavy edge. As per the previous two days, if you can identify it, please leave a comment!

This somewhat confusing BBC article suggests that water voles are thriving. Or at least I think it does. It states that the number of sightings from a particular survey has doubled since last year, but also notes that this is the first year the survey has been held online and that the total number of submissions has gone up six-fold. So maybe water voles have declined to a third of what they were? Who knows – but the thrust of the article is that things are rosy, and if so then that's heartening.


As per yesterday, more fungus to tantalise you. This is quite a large, meaty looking example on a short stalk. It has in fact grown larger since the picture was taken, being about 18cm across now. But do you know what it is? If so, please leave a comment with your thoughts.


As autumn marches onwards a host of fungi have sprouted in various parts of the garden. All shapes and sizes are present, and I must admit I haven't the first idea what any of them are. Maybe they make good eating (a couple of individual specimens could feed a small family) but it's extremely unwise to eat a wild mushroom without being absolutely sure of what it is, and even the experts make mistakes!

The picture above shows one of the smaller, more delicate examples. Would anyone care to hazard a guess as to what exactly it is?


I found these strange brown 5mm long oval 'things' in the house and couldn't figure out what they were. I even wondered if they might be some sort of elongated plastic beads from a bracelet, but I squashed one and it was creamy and squishy inside. Lovely. A little bit of research reveals that these are almost definitely fly pupae, perhaps of a common house fly or similar.

This web page has a great picture that shows the housefly fly in all its stages of growth. I must admit I'd never seen the pupae before.


Quite often as I walk in the countryside I find myself looking at the things growing in the farmer's fields and I realise I have absolutely no idea what they actually are. So I'll throw this one open to the assembled masses: what's the crop in the photo above? Is it some sort of brassica?

As advertised on yesterday evening's episode of Life (which you would be literally mad not to watch – catch it on iPlayer) you can get a free poster courtesy of the BBC and Open University. The poster appears to show the branching tree of evolution and species, but I haven't received one yet to see it in its full glory. In fact I may have to wait as they seem to be struggling to satisfy demand and the website itself is a bit flakey right now too.


If you live in a town or city and want to find out a bit more about the wildlife that shares that area with you then request a copy of the free RSPB's Wildlife on your Doorstep booklet via their website. 

This wonderful booklet covers birds, plants and animals that you should be able to find as you go about your day to day life. It contains loads of great photographs as well as many colour illustrations showing you where to look to find what may not be immediately obvious. There are specific features on street and waterfront wildlife as well as hints and tips as to what you may find on a trip to your local park.

Overall it's great to see something concentrating on urban wildlife rather than making some city dwellers think that nature can only be found if you head to the countryside. Certainly our experience of what you can see in an urban back garden shows that there's plenty there if you look properly.

Harvestman 1 Harvestman 2

Many people when seeing a harvestman assume it is a spider, but though it is an arachnid it's not a spider at all. It has eight legs, but the body is all one big blob, at least visually, whereas spiders have a clear cephalohorax (head/body, to which the legs are attached) and abdomen (usually bulbous lump attached, beyond a narrow waist of sorts). Harvestman also lack venom or silk glands and have only two very poor eyes compared to most spiders eight higher-fidelity eyes. Wikipedia has the full details.

The picture above shows one I found in the house, exhibiting the long gangly legs (one missing) and also a close-up of the body. This page has some much better photographs, albeit of more exotic foreign versions.

Note that some people (Americans in particular) call this creature a daddy longlegs, whereas in the UK that name tends to refer to the similarly gangly Crane fly.