Saturday, 8 July 2017
Take a nap by a knapweed
Keep your eyes open but stay very still by a knapweed plant and you may see a variety of creatures coming to visit the flowers.
While mowing with a scythe I chopped the top off a tussock of grass and found that I had accidentally taken the roof off a nest of yellow meadow ants. You don't often see them because they live underground, feeding on the honeydew produced by aphids feeding on grass roots.
I had exposed the pupae, so the little yellow workers scurried round, taking the helpless pupae underground again.
While taking a photo of this I saw a white crab spider (Misumena vatica)on the neighbouring knapweed. But it also detected me and quickly hid under the flower head.
You can just see a trace of a white body with red marks, under the petals on on the right hand side of the flower.
I waited for quite a long time but it didn't come out on top again so I gently tipped the flower to get a picture. These spiders usually sit on white flowers, waiting to grab a pollinating bee, fly or beetle. This individual seems to have had a poor idea of camouflage.
Then a bee arrived - or was it a hoverfly. I'm not sure.
The next visitor was a marbled white butterfly.
Other butterflies, ringlet and meadow brown, came by but were too easily disturbed for me to photograph.
And then I noticed lots of what looked like orange flies drifting past. When they landed I saw not only that they were soldier beetles, but also what they were up to.
What an entomological bonanza display, just by standing still.