Only Two Weeks in isolation

Thankfully the weather has been good enough to spend time in the garden and we are able to take a daily walk along bank of the tidal Itchen. We are already beginning to worry about how those without easy access to gardens or open spaces will cope with being socially distanced and it’s only been a couple of weeks.

Diary Notes

Thursday, 9 April 2020

A double-plus good day with lots of sunshine and lots of new species. A gorgeous, big golden Honeysuckle Sawfly (Abia aenea). A huge Two Banded Longhorn Beetle (Rhagium bifasciatum) on a rotten bee log, whether it had just emerged was prospecting we’re not sure.

A tiny Cucumber Spider, hanging upside down from a few threads on top of a rose leaf.

An adult Common Froghopper.

Jan has been following a tiny fly around. In flight and when it just lands it just looks orange. But when you enlarge the images it appears yellow and brown with vertical stripes on the thorax and horizontal stripes on the abdomen. Finally Jan spotted a similar looking Grass Fly which led us to Thaumatomyia notata, whose larvae eat aphids

Friday, 10 April 2020 and determined it was the common vesrion

Manged to get a photograph of the upper side of yesterday’s cucumber spider and determined it was Araniella cucurbitina on account of the four spots on the side of its abdomen.

Saturday, 11 April 2020

Lots of spider action today.

  • A Common Zebra Spider got too close to a Pardosa (Wolf) spider on the edge of a chimneey pot planter and wisely scuttled off.
  • Jan saw a Red Mason Bee (Osmia bicornis) sitting very still on an orange blossom flower. Great photo possibility, until she realised that the reason it wasn’t moving was because of the White Crab Spider (Misumina vatia) which had sunk its fangs into the bee’s thorax. It’s a good job we have plenty of Mason Bees in the garden.
  • Two more Mason Bees were fighting outside the large bee hotel and tumbled down into an old spider’s web. A Giant House Spider (Tegenaria gigantea) that had been lurking in one of the hollow bricks of the bee hotel came out and put a leg on each bee. It looked as though it couldn’t decide which to go for and it lost both as they escaped. Maybe they were too big a job for the spider to take on. Anyhow they struggled free and made it back up to the lek in the sunshine.
  • Jan thought she’d found a new species of spider for our list, but the white spider with clear dark markings on it’s body was, in fact, the male Crab Spider (Misumina vatia).
Crab Spider Misumina vatia male

Every day is a learning day as we discover more and more about the species that let us share their habitat.

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