Early risers

Yesterday was a bit of a disappointment in photographic terms. Not as much insect activity as I had expected. Fortunately the light was dreadful. I would have been even more annoyed if the light had been perfect and there was nothing worth photographing.

I did manage a few shots that confirmed we are running ahead of last year. The larvae of Metanastria gemella congregate on tree trunks in the day to avoid predators. Then they forage by night, chomping away at the vegetation ferociously. Last year I first saw them on March 20th. This year they just snuck into February.

Here they are – quite a small gathering compared to others I have seen.

Metanastria-gemella

 

And here’s another go.

Cat-head

 

So about 3 weeks early.

These I didn’t see last year but they are the eggs of Tessaratoma papillosa, ID courtesy of Ned Liu. And these little tinkers always lay 14 eggs. Isn’t that amazing. Never 13 or 15. Always 14.

Eggs

 

The colour is beautiful – such a delicate shade of green. Peppermint. You’d need a lot to make a meal though. They are maybe 1-2mm across.

And after hearing the toads poop pooping outside the house on Wednesday, last night I checked the local pond and sure enough Spring has sprung.

Toad

 

There was some quite vigorous sparring going on amongst the males. Well, boys will be boys. Neither of these two looks particularly happy. I remember in my garden pond in England  multiple amplexus was the norm and very noisy it was too. How the frogs and newts ever got to the pond was a mystery to me but I was very happy that they did. The newts in particular were a bonus. As a child we used to find them in the garden and we didn’t even have a pond. Nearby was a quarry with many ponds, fenced off to stop us drowning and my guess is that the newts wandered from there. Since then they seemed to have become more scarce so finding them in my specially created wildlife area was really quite rewarding.

I may venture out again this afternoon. Mr. Audi will return my car in half an hour and I then have a final six hours of time to kill until Mrs. Ha returns from darkest China. And last night was dark. She was, she revealed, in a karaoke bar. I’d rather her than I. She sings rather well. I sing rather loudly. She was with her ‘buddies’ group on a short break to a friend’s house for a house-warming party. Hubbies not invited. Thank goodness. Maybe I shall find more today but the light is again not good. Wish me luck.

 

 

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10 thoughts on “Early risers

  1. Those eggs look like those tiny easter eggs that used to be available, crackly on the outside and yummy chocky on the inside.

    I love the toads. We had frogs in our last UK house, well in the pond actually. I loved them to bits. i spent ages on pondwatch. We did have frogs in our first UK house though. I went into the understairs cupboard/larder, with beautiful cool tiles on the floor and found three darlings happily sitting there. I took them outside and hoped they found their way back to the river because I didn’t think they would find much to eat in my house. Nor was it that damp. No idea how they got there. Perhaps you can shed some light on that?

    • I remember the Easter eggs. Definitely yummy. I am not an expert in how frogs engage in breaking and entering. Now rats, there I can help. But my best guess would be you left a door ajar and they headed for a cool dark place. Ours are noisier at night but the ones in the park pond were croaking all day yesterday. Mrs. Ha doesn’t like frogs or toads so I don’t exactly encourage them but I have recorded 3 species in the garden so far. I like tiled floors – we have them here but my favourites were the smaller red ones my grandmother used to have on the floor in her house. Anything natural gets my vote, whether wood or stone. People don’t really have larders these days. Grandma D. had a walk in larder but she had no fridge. Seems a long, long time ago but was only the 60s.

      • No, we didn’t leave a door ajar. Or abottle. Or ananything. Unless they came in during the day. As for rats, I have a large sleepy dog who can spring into life to catch rats. And happily swing them by their rather dead tail. Proudly.

        Sorry Mrs is not a frog/road lover. I seriously adored them. They are quite wonderful. Pick them up and move them, stroke them on their special lily pads. Just, gorgeous.

        Ours where the frogs where were old red tiles too. Sort of quarry tileish. (Another blog post calls on that).

        My grandmother had a wonderful larder. As did my mother. Also back in the sixties. Did you have the meat cupboards with fly screens.

      • I don’t remember meat cupboards but I do remember not having an inside loo. It was down the end of the garden. My grandmother was in her 70s when her youngest daughter finally persuaded her to have an inside lavatory and a separate bathroom too! Before then it was tin baths in the front room.

      • My paternal grandmother, who lived in a rented terraced house, had an outside toilet, out the back. My partner worked for a pretty well-off couple in Newc but the man happily still used the outside toilet. And although my mother grew up with a posh bathroom (council house in 30s) her father preferred the outside toilet. Must be a man thing.

        Don’t know if your tin bath was flippant or not, but A grew up with them. Before we nearly but didn’t buy a place in Spain we lived there – and used a tin bucket for washing down – outside.

      • No the tin bath was not flippant – for real and maybe it is a man thing, outside loos, but my grandmother had no choice. She was a tough lady – brought up 9 children. The youngsters of today have never had it so good.

  2. What synchronicity! I was down on my hands and knees (don’t worry I promise this is not going to be rude) in the outside shower yesterday, taking photographs of the tiny toad that has chosen to make it his abode. We sometimes have snakes in there but fortunately none have been spotted recently.

    The second photograph is my favourite but they are all excellent 😀 and I agree, the eggs do look just like the crunchy shelled Easter ones.

    Larders! Such an important, and useful space in a house and yet they are now over-looked when designing new homes. I have fond childhood memories of sneaking into the larder and foraging around for illicit tasty smakerels when my mother’s back was turned. Snacking between meals was forbidden so every snatched biscuit or cake crumb gobbled up during those furtive forays tasted all the more sweeter!

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