On the 29th September last year I saw my first Harlequin Ladybird. Eventually about 40 spent the winter hibernating in our door frame, alongside native ladybirds. They woke in the spring and dispersed. This species has expanded its range dramatically in a few years, first reaching Southern England in 2004. It is originally an Asian species which was introduced to North America and later Continental Europe because it eats more crop pest species than any other ladybird, the trouble is that it eats beneficial species too. The jury is still out on whether it will affect our native species of ladybirds and other insects. The larger Harlequin may displace them.
A large dragonfly hawked for smaller insects low over the front lawn at noon. Eventually it settled briefly to munch on a fly- I could easily hear its jaws grinding. What a lovely creature- just look at those eyes!
This beautifully coloured and beautifully named moth (which means marvel of the day) was on the wall near the moth trap this morning.
We have not seen the sun since Saturday afternoon, so this sunset was a welcome sight.
I finished this composition today. A fast watercolour of Avocets from sketches made at Cley Marshes back in March. The wind is coming from the right of the picture(easterly) and the Avocets are resting in some sheltered water in the lee of the spit of land. The afternoon sunlight strikes low from the left.
The female Brambling was back again today, looking bedraggled in the continuous rain. Some Swallows were feeding low around the house for a while. Goldcrests have suddenly increased in number. Some of these tiny birds will have just flown across the North Sea to escape the colder Continental winter- amazing.