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I have a small number of wildlife photographs taken during late spring and through the summer.  This post will feature them.

Four-spotted Chaser, a male (I think!)(Libellula quadrimaculata )

These amber and black-coloured dragonflies fly during late spring and early summer and fortunately for me and my camera, they take regular rests on plants round the edge of the pond from where they watch for prey and/or mates.  Males are very territorial and aggressive.

Female Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella )

I spent some time trying to decide whether this was an Azure or a Variable Damselfly.  The photo isn’t clear enough for me to be sure.  I decided to post the photo on the Damsel and Dragonfly Facebook site and see what the experts thought.  The first person thought it was an Azure and the second thought it was a Variable!  Fortunately a third person plumped for the Azure so that is what it will have to be.

Male Azure Damselfly ( Coenagrion puella)

The males are much brighter than the females.

Male Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos )

When I took this photo at the beginning of summer I was upset to see how little water was in the pond.  At that time of year there ought to have been at least two or three more feet of water there.  I was not to know how bad it would get by the end of the summer when most of the pond had become dry.

Rosemary Beetle (Chrysolina americana ) on rosemary

Rosemary beetle on sage

I have been finding these attractive beetles on my rosemary, lavender and sage plants for the past couple of years.  They are a non-native invasive species of beetle related to the Colorado Beetle.  They do a fair amount of damage to plants if left unchecked and can kill young plants.  Because of our recent mild winters they are active throughout the year.  Here is a link to the RHS website which describes the beetle.

Speckled Wood butterfly (Parage aegeria )

I apologize for the poor photo of this pretty butterfly.  This was the closest I got to one all summer!  They are difficult to see in the dappled light of a woodland ride where they like to live.  They feed mainly on honeydew in the treetops.

Green-veined White butterfly (Peiris napi )

I saw a number of these white butterflies this year.  I read that the green-veined white prefers to lay its eggs on wild members of the cabbage family ( watercress, garlic mustard etc.) rather than on plants in our vegetable gardens.  This one appears to be laying eggs on my aubretia, which is also a member of the cabbage family!

The Painted Lady butterfly( Vanessa cardui) has had a very good year here and almost the whole country has seen numbers of them. They cannot survive our winters so new butterflies arrive each spring by immigration from southern Europe.  The caterpillars feed mainly on thistles and sometimes mallows.

Red Admirals (Vanessa atalanta ) are increasingly able to survive our winters by hibernation.  The majority arrive here in the spring from Europe and then subsequent generations fly and breed until the first frosts.  The caterpillars feed on stinging nettles.

Small Tortoiseshell butterfly (Aglais urticae )

The one and only small tortoiseshell I was able to photograph.  I haven’t seen many this year.  The butterflies hibernate as adults in hollow trees and buildings and the caterpillars feed on stinging nettles.  As good a reason as any to keep a few nettles in the corner of the garden.

A rather battered Holly Blue butterfly (Celastrina argiolus ) on Escallonia

I saw quite a few holly blues this year which probably means they will be scarce again next year.  The caterpillars are often attacked by two species of parasitic wasp that sometimes wipe out whole colonies of holly blue.  The male and female butterflies’ underside of their wings looks alike so I can’t say which this is.  It refused to open its wings all the time I was watching it and then flew off at speed the moment my attention wavered!

I would recommend Escallonia as a favourite with bees and butterflies.  I also saw a Green Hairstreak butterfly on it this summer but I didn’t have my camera to hand.

Mint Moth ( Pyrausta aurata) on lavender

At least, I believe this might be a Mint Moth.  It appears to have two golden spots on its forewings which is what one looks for.

Lunar Yellow Underwing (Noctua orbona )

You may think it strange that I have chosen to include a photo of a dead moth.  I expect it is.  This poor thing managed to get itself trapped in the house while we were away on holiday and I found it in the garden room.  These moths are quite uncommon and I am pleased that they are present in our garden.

Ivy (Hedera helix ) hedge

I parked my car up against this hedge in Bungay a couple of weeks ago and stopped to admire all the wonderful flowers all over it.  I then realized it was covered in bees.

Ivy flowers

Ivy Mining Bee ( Colletes hederae)

Ivy Mining Bee

These bees dash about all over the place and never stay for more than a few seconds on any one flower.  I was very fortunate to get the photos I did.  I couldn’t stay long as I had shopping to do and the owner of the red car (see the first photo) returned to her vehicle and was eyeing me suspiciously.

Common Toad (Bufo bufo)

I looked up from my lunch one day in June and saw this young toad marching across the grass in front of the kitchen window.  My phone doesn’t take good photos and I couldn’t crop the shot without it becoming pixelated.  You can see the toad has long legs with which it covers quite a lot of ground at some speed.  Toads don’t jump and hop very often.

See how parched the grass was at the beginning of the summer!  Things didn’t improve much until quite recently.  We have had large quantities of rain in the last few weeks and the grass is growing again!

Grass Snake (Natrix natrix ) skin on the grass round our large pond

We often see grass snakes in our garden but this year this is the closest I got to one.  They are Britain’s longest snake at one metre in length, occasionally longer. They are variable in colour and pattern being either green, olive-green, brown or grey.  They have a yellow to orange-red collar just behind their head and have regular black markings along their sides (or not, as the case may be!) They are very good swimmers.

Both these photographs of starlings (Sturnus vulgaris ) were taken by Elinor when she was on a trip to the North Norfolk coast this autumn.  I love these garrulous birds and enjoy listening to their twittering and whistling.  These birds in the photos are resplendent in their speckled winter plumage and have black bills.  The feathers become less speckled and  more iridescent green and purple through the winter and the bills turn a beautiful lemon-yellow in spring. They are excellent mimics and will copy other bird’s songs and calls and any other noises they find interesting.  In the early seventies we had one in the road where I grew up that did a good impersonation of a Trimphone.  Is impersonation the right word?  Again, there was a starling that lived next to the primary school that Elinor attended when we lived in Somerset that had a call that sounded just like little girls screaming in the playground.

A Jay (Garrulus glandarius ) feather

I think this feather is so beautiful!  Richard found it in the garden.

From these slightly blurred photos it is difficult to see the iridescence of the feathers, the maroon, amber and dark brown shades that make these pheasant ( Phasianus colchicus) feathers so lovely.  I found them all together in a heap in the garden.  I assume that this pheasant had been fighting and had had these scraped from his breast.  Pheasants don’t like fighting at all and will get out of it if they can.  If disturbed in the middle of their posturing both combatants will sidle away hoping, I’m sure, they won’t be followed.