Who am I?

An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to see the natural world as a place for competition. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!


Tuesday 11 March 2014

Garden dwellers

There were several examples of this spider, all resting in this "crumpled" posture.
I have no idea as to what purpose this serves, or what species it is - smart little chaps
and incredibly alert! They very quickly disappeared behind their leaf if I got too close.
I have to admit that I expected more, the weather looked good for a raptor, or two, and I dutifully manned my post for the morning; camera and assorted lenses to hand. My optimism was misplaced, a Kestrel apart, birds of prey had not read the script. The gulls remained untroubled as the sun blazed down from a cloudless sky - it was a joy to be outside.

This rather nicely marked spider was enjoying the sunshine on a piece of
fabric which has been weathering in the garden for the Winter
The garden was still a good place to be as the invertebrate hoards slowly start to emerge. Buff-tailed Bumble-bees have been seen regularly for more than three weeks and spiders are now also becoming more obvious. A small Hover fly, which I thought was a "Marmalade Fly ", but now am not so sure, was present on the ivy that grows up our decking railings as was a Green Shield Bug. A pleasant enough distraction whilst I await the arrival of the raptors.


  1. Hello again Matey!

    The naturalist side of me has recognised all species shown above and would impart that knowledge...but would it spoil your enjoyment to know their names? :)

    Both spiders are Pisaura mirablis. The bullet-shaped abdomen and white line along the head are surefire pointers. The hoverfly is indeed the Marmalade Fly. It is the only British hoverfly that exhibits paired black bands on the abdomen. And the shieldbug you already nailed. I have no idea why the top spider is scrunched up like that, but I've seen them do it too. I'll do some research and hopefully have an answer soon.

    Cheers bud,


    1. Young master Gibson,

      Delighted that you should find the time to pass comment upon the content and photographic efforts which are to be found on my recent blog postings. Your suggestion that I might employ some computer trickery to, somehow, enhance my already wondrous images is rather ill judged. As I’ve already been at pains to explain (to young Marc Heath – the scally wag); my images are purely to enhance my blog entries and are in no way important away from that function. My day is not ruined because I used the wrong exposure, f stop or white balance. Oh no sir! The enjoyment was mine – a photograph is a nice way of sharing the experience, but not vital. Yes, of course I’d like to take fantastic record images of everything I encounter, yet an unrealistic dream – I have neither the skills or the desire to learn them, I will continue to happily snap away using that great leveller – quantity. I am usually able to rescue something from the trash can should I have the need. I am also very fortunate to have a digital archive of over 200,000 images (mostly crap!) going back to 2003 and my early digi-scoping efforts. Pratting about in the garden this morning I still took 149 images of absolutely zilch! My sojourns to Greece and Turkey regularly result in upwards of 4,000 images being downloaded when I get home – our week in Scotland will see a similar number of pictures being recorded. How many pike can I photograph? Then there’s the Ospreys, Black-throated Divers, Dippers, Redstarts and umpteen other distractions – it soon mounts up.

      As for the assistance in naming the Nursery Web Spiders (P. mirabilis) – you needn’t have bothered, I’ve photographed this species many times since Steve and I had our little spat! I am rather intrigued by the strange crumpled posture though, so any thoughts would be welcome. I’ve also made a stab at the id of the fly - Phaonia rufiventris being my best guess. Am I close? So you might have gathered that I’m not a complete heathen, I do try but it isn’t the be all and end all of my reason for looking. I have spent hours watching dragonflies over Turkish pools without ever wondering what species they were – just to study their habits and hunting strategies is enjoyment enough. Over time I have sorted a few out, but by no means all – Indigo Drop-wing is a particular favourite. I have photographed loads of butterflies from all around the Mediterranean, again there are some which I’ve id’d, but many which remain un-named yet still provided huge satisfaction as they were encountered . I have many images of grasshoppers, crickets, odd mantis, bees, wasps, hoverflies, centipedes, dragons and damsels, I’ve even got a nice series of beetles from my travels and then there’s the lizards, including chameleon, snakes, terrapins, frogs, toads, scorpions, spiders and, I hate to admit this, some flowers to. And what about the birds – there’s 100’s of those buggers! Chuck in a few mammals and there you have it – a pan-list of photographic subjects from the simple enquiring mind of a passionate observer. If I see it, and the opportunity presents itself, then I will take a photo; it doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen it before, there will always be something new to see or learn from the encounter.

      This time it’s me prattling on – I hope you don’t mind?

      I’m experiencing a few problems with my e-mail – so hope this gets through!

      As always – Dyl

      P.S. That barbel was the smaller of two 13lbs+ fish that I took within five days on The R. Stour (Canterbury) in August 2013