Category Archives: Insects

Ant Hill Mob

A few weeks ago as part of tidying up the garden we dug out a long-standing ant-hill that was in the middle of the lawn. The ants weren’t too happy, but they’d had a long run of several years undisturbed and it was time for them to move on.

The lawn has now recovered with some re-seeding, and the ants – so it appears – have found a perfectly good new home. This was the sight that greeted me when I opened our compost bin earlier in the week.

ant colony with pupae

Ant colony with a huge number of eggs pupae. The dark areas are
tunnels leading down into the compost bin

You can clearly see the tunnels they are building down into the compost, a little bit like a hive. There are a huge number of eggs pupae (larger than the ants) on the surface, plus some large winged ants, though vast majority are the standard small worker ant. I’m trying not to disturb them too often as once daylight hits the surface they go into a frenzy of moving everything.

ant colony with winged ants

There are several winged ants among the mass

ants moving pupae
ants moving pupae

Close-up of ants and eggs pupae

The major problem with the colony is that they make the compost more or less unusable, so we may have to start again entirely. The ants are safe for the time-being!

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 1DX Mark II and EF 100mm f/2.8L macro IS USM lens.

edited 20/6/19 to correct references to eggs to ‘pupae’
Also posted in Ants, Wildlife Tagged |

Ants and Bee

A short sequence of a presumably common garden event, but one I’ve not previously taken any notice of: ants finding and swarming on a dying (or dead) bee. When I took these thee ants had already moved the bee from the centre of the patio to a corner near the wall.

Ants swarming over a dead bee

Ants swarming over a dead bee

Ants swarming over a dead bee

Ants swarming over a dead bee

Ants swarming over a dead bee

Ants swarming over a dead bee

Quite a feast for them!

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 7D Mark II and EF 100mm f/2.8L macro IS USM lens.

Also posted in Ants, Bee Tagged , |

Kestrels, Lizards and some rural street-art

I’ve not posted for a few days, but on and off I’ve been out and about with the camera. The local short-eared owls seemed to have moved away for the summer (no reports of sightings for a week or so), but there are some cuckoos in the area. I’ve neither seen nor heard them yet, but I’ve had reliable reports from two sources. If I do see them that would be an absolute thrill. I don’t think I’ve ever seen or knowingly heard one before!

Anyway, Sheepcote Valley may have lost its owls for now, but the kestrels seem to be back in force.

Female kestrel at Sheepcote Valley, Brighton

Female kestrel at Sheepcote Valley, Brighton

And here are a couple of a male kestrel (note the grey head feathers).

Kestrel at Sheepcote Valley, Brighton

Kestrel at Sheepcote Valley, Brighton

Male kestrel hovering over Sheepcote Valley

Male kestrel hovering over Sheepcote Valley

The little common lizards are still enjoying the warmth of the brickwork at the edge of the car park at work. Here’s one from today enjoy the sunshine.

Common lizard at Watts bank, University of Brighton, Moulsecoomb

Common lizard at Watts bank, University of Brighton, Moulsecoomb

Watts bank, which my office desk overlooks also attracts butterflies. Nothing too extravagent at the moment, but the common blues are quite abundant. This is a female.

Common blue butterfly (female), Watts Bank, University of Brighton

Common blue butterfly (female), Watts Bank, University of Brighton

As for the rural street art… I came across this in the middle of a local field. The burnt out wreck has been there for a while apparently. It seems that someone decided to give it a paint job to make it less of an eye-sore.

Burnt out car painted by graffiti artists, Brighton

Burnt out car painted by graffiti artists, Brighton

Detail of graffiti car

Detail of graffiti car

A second abandoned car nearby had also been given the same treatment. It doesn’t solve the issue of abandoned vehicles (Brighton Council take note), but I did appreciate the creative tocuh of the unknown artist.

Last shot… Eye of Lizard!

Eye of Lizard

Eye of Lizard

Camera note: kestrel and car photos taken with the Canon 7D Mark II and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens. Butterfly and lizard taken with the EF 100mm f/2.8L macro IS USM lens.

Also posted in Bird of Prey, Butterfly, graffiti, Kestrel, Landscape, lizard Tagged , , , |