Saturday, 31 March 2012

Warning! Pest Alert!!!!!!

Well, it's blog time again and more findings are appearing on the list, although not many this week.


Firstly and most importantly off all, I must post an alert! This is a tale of irony because I would love to come across this species of beetle, but, at the same time, I don't. Not in this country anyway, so hence the alert.

I must say, working as a person who delivers containers direct from Asia, which is thought how this species arrived in the UK, I am always amazed at our lack of biohazard border control. If you land at Sydney airport in Australia with mud on your shoes, you're sent to be decontaminated or have your shoes confiscated and destroyed. They are very serious about non-native species getting into their country. I've been to places which have many containers delivered to them and some have little plastic bags on their walls with the remains of foriegn moths, lizards and beetles that they've found in the container. The containers are at sea for quite some time and it is unusual for most species to survive this journey. However, I was once shown an American Brown Bat which was found in a container of timber from America (obviously) when it was opened in Brentwood, Essex. The bat was obviously found very hungry and dehydrated and a bat worker was called to whom it is still in his care and will  be until he dies (bat, not bat worker) because it cannot and should not be released in this country.
So, keep your eyes peeled because this species of beetle can do so much damage to our native tree population if it takes hold!

Thank you

Yes, thank you dear followers. Last week my views topped the 1000 mark and are still going strong, I'm humbled. 

Bees, as you may have heard have been busy buzzing around with lots of big bumblers doing their business. When I got home from work the other day, I found a large bumbler (as the wifey like to call them) buzzing frantically at the window trying to get out. I helped it into a container and took it outside to our ornamental raspberry bush outside, where it immediately stuck its head into a flower and began feeding. It was then that I noticed there were some more bumblers using the bush to feed on. I ran indoors to grab my camera only to find out the battery was dead, great! So I grabbed my little point and shoot and started snapping away. On one little bush about 2 foot wide and 3 foot high I found 3 different species of bumbler, but only managed to get photos of 2 of the species.
The species I failed to get a picture of was the one in my room, D'oh! It was a Red-tailed Bumblebee Bombus lapidarius, the other 2 species were White-tailed Bumblebee B hypnorum and the Tree Bumblebee B lucorum.
B hypnorum feeding on the Raspberry bush.

B hypnorum in flight.

B lucorum feeding.

B lucorum still feeding.
I promise to post a photo of B lapidarius when I get one. You may have heard in the news this week that queen bees are in decline due to pesticides, and we're not talking just agricultural pesticides either. They are suffering from the stuff that everyday gardeners use. Now bees and other pollinators have been having a hard time of it over the years with our messing around with flowers making them very pretty to look at, but totally void of pollen. 

You CAN help!

Yes, you can, but how? Start by planting pollinator friendly flowers in your garden like single dahlias or cornflowers and poppies. Have you got an old teapot you don't use? Then don't just chuck it away, bury the teapot leaving only the spout exposed, this makes for a great little home for most bumblers. Most importantly of all, please remember that a Bumbler isn't out to sting you! Their little stinger is barbed which means that if a bee stings you, when it pulls away, it'll leave its stinger in you ripping it out of his tail meaning certain death for the poor bee, so as you can imagine, the last thing it wants to do is sting you. If you leave them alone, they'll leave you alone, in fact they usually are quite happy for you to watch them feed as long as you don't interfere.
Even wasps can be good for the gardener. Take the Ichneumon wasp, which I find most times in my moth trap, they will look out for those munching caterpillars on your prized plants, grab them and whisk them away to their hole in the ground where the caterpillar is then paralysed with a sting before laying its eggs upon it and being buried. The eggs hatch and devour their host (whilst still) alive, before becoming adults themselves to start the process all over again.
A little beetle that I found on the moth trap sheet this morning also has its uses for the gardener, so much so, that it is being considered for use in pest control. The beetle in question is the Common Sun Beetle Armara aenea and it predates on apple maggots and soyabean aphids.

A aenea which has a lovely greeny-brassy sheen and is good for gardeners too!

So yes, Friday night is Garden Moth Scheme and also known as 'Cat playground night' as the cat thinks it's the bees-knees when I have the trap set up in the garden. It gives him something to do whilst waiting for his mates to come round and play.
Last night there was only one new species in the trap, a Twenty-plume moth (also known as the 20p moth) Alucita hexadactyla for which I had 2 of. I also had an all time record of Clouded Drabs Orthosia incerta which come in various different shades as can be seen below.

O incerta in its various guises. Who said mothing was easy!!!

Websites of the week!

I have two little beauties for you this week, the first is a blog by a fellow Twitterer 

SherylLaBouchardiere which I find quite enjoyable.

The second is for those of you who are near a computer all day and is full of live streaming nature cams in nest boxes and out in gardens and it's 24hour too! It is Wildlife Whisperer and the link I give you here goes direct to the cams.

Before I give you the list, I would just like to share this little conversation I heard about this week.

14year old girl: What's paraffin?
Father: It's a fuel that is safe enough to be used indoors.
14year old girl: So it's not a cross between a parrot and a puffin then?

Here's the list! 

Tree Bumblebee
Bombus hypnorum
White-tailed Bumblebee
Bombus lucorum
Red Tailed Bumblebee
Bombus lapidarius
Twenty-plume Moth
Alucita hexadactyla
Common Sun Beetle
Amara aenea
Velvet Mite
Eutrombidium rostratus

Sunday, 25 March 2012

A glorious day

Well what a gorgeous day it was today with fine spring weather and glorious sunshine. I knew that today was a day that my butterfly count was going to increase for sure, but first I had to empty out the moth trap. Lots of Orthosia cruda, O cerasi and O gothica were to be recorded with a couple of Panolis flammea as well. There were also three new species to be recorded, Vespula vulgaris the Common Wasp, Eupithecia abbreviata a Brindled Pug, which I might add was incredibly hard to ID and thanks again to Les Hill for the help, and the last one was Diurnea fagella which has no common name.

Brindled Pug E abbreviata
Off to the park.
Well, as I said earlier, I just knew it was going to be a great day for butterflies, so me and the wifey headed off to our local park, Holywells park in Ipswich. We wasn't there long before the first butterfly of the day flitted past, a Brimstone G rhamni. This was a first for me and I can say this butterfly looked awesome in its flittingness, it didn't stop to rest and was soon gone out of sight, so alas, no photos, sorry.
I noticed in the week that my friend Matt Berry of Ipswich Park Rangers had posted some photos of Tufted ducks on the old Facebook, so we headed off to have a look around the pond. It wasn't long before we spotted a pair sitting quietly on the water whilst Coots chased each other round and round.

Tufted duck A fuligula. Male in the foreground, or should that be forewater?
Whilst watching these ducks and hoping they would come a little closer for a better shot, I looked down to see a cluster of bright metallic green beetles enjoying the midday sun. Unfortunately, due to the fence around the pond, I was unable to get a proper shot of these beetles known as Green Dock Beetles G viridula. Which is a shame as there elytra was quite iridescent and looked fantastic in the sun. Then wifey noticed a small cluster of 7-spot Ladybirds C 7-punctata with a spider sitting on top of them. By the time I got around to trying to get a shot (bloody fence) it had moved and was sitting on a leaf. It turns out that it was a Nursery Web Spider P mirabilis. I've found out by the wonderful power of the web that this lovely little spider actually carries its egg beneath her in a ball and when the time is right, she will attach the eggs somewhere safe and spin a web over them and then will sit back and guard them. Now don't panic, usual rules apply here and I will post the picture at the end of the blog so you can continue to read on without fear, I will post a warning before the pic, promise.
We still wanted to see more and off we wandered to the western side of the park and this is where we came across one of my wife's favourite little birds, the Robin E rubecula. Now, again, Matt had posted up some pictures of this little bird before from quite close up, sitting on his hand in fact. So I told the wifey to put her hand out and it wasn't long before the cheeky little chap was perching on her hand to see what she had to offer.

Coming in to land.
Sitting comfortably.
Wifey and Robin.

Purdis Heath

After our little jaunt, I decided for a reccy around Purdis Heath SSSI for some more butterflies, whilst the wifey, quite happy for her little meeting with the Robin, went home. As soon as I got onto the heath I came across a Comma chasing off a Small Tortoiseshell. They seem very aggressive when it comes to territory and I was completely surprised by its amazing vision. It was taking off to see off an intruder even when it was a long way away, to great a distance it would seem, for such a small insect.

Comma P c-album on guard duty.

Everywhere I walked birds were chirping, mating and insects buzzing. It was then I came across a small sapling, Birch I think, which was covered in Ladybirds. My eye was drawn to a small cluster at the fork of branch where I could see 2 7-spots C 7-punctata and a couple of Pine E 4-pustulatus. But in the middle was one I hadn't spotted before and I whipped out the iPhone (because I got an app for that!) to look on the Field Studies Guide ladybird app (it's rubbish and I DON'T recommend it), but I couldn't get a positive ID for it. So I grabbed a photo:

2 x 7-spots, 2 x Pine and the one in the middle which I'm not sure of.
As soon as I got home, I started a more detailed search and came up with the ID of a 13-spot ladybird Hippodamia 13-punctata. However, this ladybird according to the FSC is extinct! A new find perhaps??? I can see the newspaper headlines now SUFFOLK NATURALIST FINDS EXTINCT BUG!!! I can see more awards people and press flocking outside my door just wanting to speak to the person who brought a species back from the dead. However, I had to be sure, so I uploaded the picture to a website previously mentioned before on here iSpot.
I've just this minute checked the results and can confirm I WAS WRONG! It is in fact an Adonis Ladybird H variegeta. But still, a rare find so I'm told.

Walking around, despite all the sun and blooming, if not spikey, gorse bushes, I still wasn't seeing a lot of butterfly activity. So I headed off the beaten track and it wasn't long before in the corner of my eye I saw a dark, what I thought was a leaf, on some light coloured and dead bracken. I didn't need to look twice as I knew it to be a Peacock butterfly Inachis io.  I took off my aussie hat (good against harsh sun on head) and creeped up very slowy snapping away as I did. As I got close, the butterfly noticed me and started to flash his wings, which if you're a potential predator, can look like a pair of large eyes appearing out of nowhere.

Peacock I io.
This bracken off the beaten track seemed quite popular with the butterflies as they could bask in the sun quietly without someone's errant dog charging through disturbing them every 5 minutes. The Peacock is known to spend the winter hibernating in garden sheds and garages and if disturbed can make a squeaky sound as it flashes it wings, to deter predators. They have also recently found out that this squeak made by the wings opening and closing, also resonates at an ultrasonic level which is a deterrent used against bats!

And so I wandered on all the time keeping an eye out for a beetle which I've never heard of before until this year that is. It's the Oil Beetle Meloe sp. A rather largish beetle that I heard Nick Baker (man off the telly) refer to as the HGV trucks of the beetle world. They're quite a size, flightless and have quite a complicated life cycle and very strangely, absent from the east of England. There used to be 8 different species of Oil beetle, but now there are only 4. I want to find one before they disappear too and I would prefer to find it in East Anglia. They like to lay their eggs (usually thousands) in areas frequented by Solitary bees. The minute larvae hatch and are called triungulins and they have small grapling hook like toes. They climb up to the nearest flower head and then lay in wait for the bee to come along, as soon as it lands they grip onto the bee with their toes and hitch a lift to the nest of the bee where they then feed on the bee eggs, larvae and food stores until they emerge as an adult Oil beetle.
More can be found out about this wonderful little creature here.
Just one more creature to add and that was found on a cold pond in the back garden this morning, a Common Pond Skater Gerris lacustris and this brings the list too 132 species leaving me only a 123 species behind where I should be. As I've got no work tomorrow, I'm considering getting the moth trap out again tonight in the hope it'll bring me something new. 
Don't forget, after the list is the picture of the spider I mentioned earlier. 
Here's the new improved list which I hope makes for better reading:

Communal Mining Bee
Andrena carantonica
Comma Butterfly
Polygonia c-album
Carduelis spinus
Pyrrhula pyrrhula
Common Wasp
Vespula vulgaris
Brindled Pug
Eupithecia abbreviata
Diurnea Fagella
Diurnea fagella
Brimstone Butterfly
Gonepteryx rhamni
Nursery Web Spider
Pisaura mirabilis
Green Dock Beetle
Gastrophysa viridula
Tufted Duck
Aythya fuligula
Small Tortoiseshell
Aglais urticae
Phylloscopus collybita
Peacock Butterfly
Inachis io
Adonis Ladybird
Hippodamia variegata
Common Pond Skater
Gerris lacustris


Nursery Web Spider P mirabilis.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Bees and butterflies

I hope you’re getting pretty used to these long intervals between posts. I always feel a bit guilty that I haven’t posted sooner, but as we know, things don’t always happen on a regular basis and those little creatures are not always so easy to find.
I’ve found out quite a bit since the last time I posted and I also have a new section where I will be posting web page links to interesting sites I’ve found.

Four more animals have made it in the list this week, two of them are firsts for me. A small mining bee called a Communal Mining Bee Andrena carantonica and a Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula which I spotted as I drove around a roundabout in Kent. 

My first butterfly

Earlier in the week, I found myself delivering to a small place in Essex. The job was gonna take a couple of hours and a quick look at the OS map app showed me that I wasn't far from a footpath that meandered out into the countryside. So grabbing field bag, bins and phone I set off on a jaunt into the wilds of Essex to see what I could find. The footpath started as a little lane running off the main road. A sign on the entrance to the lane stated 'NO PARKING, PRIVATE DRIVE'. As I wasn't driving, I wasn't able to 'park' as such, so onward I proceeded down this pleasant little tarmac drive with high hedgerows on either side. Goldfinches flitted around me and it wasn't long before a pair of Siskin's sat in a tree singing away in front of me. I used to get a flock of about 16 of these birds to my garden niger feeder everyday about 3-4years ago. They used to empty the feeder on a daily basis and I used to refill it on that same daily basis. That was until one day when I had run out of seed and wasn't able to refill the feeder. The Siskin's came down, examined empty feeder and flew off never to be seen again, even though I refilled the feeder the next day. Fussy things.
The footpath then meandered (I like that word) across a farmers field and into a small wooded area. All around me birds were singing the joys of spring and it was just so pleasant to be out and about enjoying it all. I then came across this lichen covered tree that looked really strange. Obviously, the lichen has found an excellent spot as it's doing so well and I'm never really sure as to include these to my list, because they're not exactly a plant. They're a joint venture of fungi and algae, which makes it quite hard as I've already recorded a fungi on the list, but I said from the start that I wasn't going to record plants or trees. Hmmm, so what do I do? As I forgot to take a sample of the lichen, I can't really give it a positive ID, so in this case it remains off the list.

Lichen covered tree.
A closer look at the lichen.
After about 50 mins, I decided to turn around and walk back. This is when I came across the communal mining bees buzzing around on the floor of the wood. I tried to get some pictures but eventually gave up and recorded some video! Ooh, look at me getting all technical and digital and down in the hood (or should that be wood).

My main reason for this little jaunt other than just getting away from the truck and trying to find new species for the list was to try and nail (not literally) my first butterfly of the year. My friends on twitter have been banging away all week about how they've spotted 18 of this butterfly, 9 of that and 10 of the other, whilst I, stuck in the confines of my truck all day have spotted zilch! I wanted to rectify this and this was the perfect opportunity for me, and as I wandered back something small and brownish whizzed over my head and back down the path. I turned around and saw it quickly divert into the hedgerow. I ran, only 10 yds thankfully, back to see what it was and there in all its beauty was my first butterfly of the year, a Comma Polygonia c-album.

Comma P c-album.
So, first butterfly makes me well chuffed. I wish this photo did the beauty of this specimen justice, but alas, it doesn't. I use a pair of Pentax Papilo binoculars which are the best (I think) for looking at close in stuff such as butterflies, dragonflies etc and when you're looking at a butterfly that is only 2 foot from you through these bins, you really get to see all the intricate details of the hairs on the backs, the white legs and white tips on the antennae. I really recommend you put a pair of these on your wish list.

I've won an award, apparently!

Yes, can you believe it, me, an award. I got an email the other day saying that someone had commented on my Nacton Shores post. It was someone telling me that I won the Rather Nice Bat Award for Biodiversity in Blogging and was to celebrate me passing the 100 species mark. My acceptance speech can be seen by clicking on the link.

 As we can see, it seems to be from a bottle of claret,
which unfortunately, didn't come with the award.

Useful places to visit on the web.

The first and foremost site I can highly recommend for all you nature lovers out there is iSpot. If you find something that you don't really know what it is, take a photo of it, post it onto this website and usually within hours, if not minutes, someone will have ID'd it for you. You can then click on the links to see where else it's been recorded in the UK. 

Next, thanks to the Tweetersphere is UK Safari which is another way to ID your finds and is good if you like to try and ID it yourself rather than waiting for someone else to ID it for you.

That's it for now, here's the list

114 Flea Beetle Psylliodes chrysocephala TM188434 15/03/2012
115 Garden Bumblebee Bombus hortorum TQ421546 15/03/2012
116 Lead-coloured Drab Orthosia populeti TM188434 16/03/2012
117 Communal Mining Bee Andrena carantonica TM073217 21/03/2012
118 Comma Butterfly Polygonia c-album TM070217 21/03/2012
119 Siskin Carduelis spinus TM070217 21/03/2012
120 Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula TQ543756 22/03/2012

Sunday, 11 March 2012

They're off!

Well it appears that spring might be well and truly underway. After last weekend's miserable weather of cold wet rain (although, I've never seen dry rain), this weekend the sun began to break through. Which was helpful, because I could go off to look for adders (yes, snakes, and poisonous ones too!) which was rained off the week before. 
I met up with my two other volunteers (Graham and Lee) for the mission near Woodbridge at 9am with printed transect in hand. The sun was desperately trying to break through the clouds and each time it did so, we could feel its warmth through the slightly chilly breeze reminding us of winters weak, fading grip.
Off we went with binoculars scanning all the likely spots of dead bracken in sunny spots and sunny spots under trees. Being reptiles, snakes cannot generate their own heat like us humans, so the first job of the day for any snake is to find a nice, undisturbed, sunny spot to warm up the blood so you can move around with ease.
On our transect, I could hear a Skylark singing up above me in the sky. However, like all Skylarks, they're never really that easy to spot. Could I add it to my list if I've only heard it? Hmmm, tricky one. Then a passing cloud omitted the sun and I quickly looked up through the bins to see if I could spot it, and by an amazing chance of luck, I found it almost straight away! So Skylark comes in at 99, but what would be my first 100th species???
Well, we were 3/4 of the way around the site without seeing anything, we then came across a patch of dense heather which we thought wouldn't be suitable for adders, but Graham thought he would have a little look on the off chance whilst me and Lee skirted around the edge. Graham, not seeing anything and thinking it was a pointless excursion going into the heather, thought he'd come back and join us. It was then he turned and saw coiled up on some bright green moss in an opening an adder. He quietly got our attention and we quietly went trampling through the heather to join him. We had to be very careful because snakes are very sensitive to vibration and sound and can slink off very quickly if disturbed. Please note, they WON'T chase you and bite you, they're very scared of you, you're very big and especially if you're a human, cumbersome.
We got there to see the little fellow all coiled up, but it was obvious he was quite aware of us standing about 10 metres away and I managed to get a shot (picture) of it as it turned and slunk off back into the heather.
It was the only one we saw that day, but we were happy to have seen him and grateful to Graham's sense of trying something different.

Male adder making good his escape.
Species 100!

Getting home from the adder survey, it was back to the domestic chores of the weekend. I had to pop down the shed to have a little tidy up from when the bats were there during winter. When I looked up I saw something that immediately said "Yay, species 100!". Obviously, the creature didn't say that or it really would have been a special moment. 
The creature in question is a spider, but not any old spider, it was one of our biggest (if not the biggest) spiders. Don't worry, I'll put the photo at the end of the blog so those of a nervous disposition can actually read my blog.
Both of its names (common and scientific) are in themselves enough to scare. The Giant House Spider or Tegenaria gigantea, say it all really and after much fighting with the huge beastie, I managed to get it back into my broom cupboard office for a photoshoot. I was also warned by the wifey (an arachnophobic) that if I let it escape, I WILL NOT be sleeping, eating or anythinging until it has been captured and sent packing. So alas, the photos were of it in a large pot and not running freely around my desk. Some people just don't understand.

The evening came and after such a lovely day, it was time to get the moth trap out. I had managed to purchase another white sheet from the local charity shop allowing me to place a sheet beneath the trap and attach a sheet to the fence nearby, thus hopefully attracting more. Someone once said (and I don't think it was a rugby player) "Build it and the will come." and come they did. In the morning I actually run out of sample pots and I still wasn't half way through them. The other half had to remain in the covered and sheltered trap until I had ID'd the first lot and placed them into bigger containers in the fridge before I could collect the rest. 
There was one anomaly which I had often read, but still didn't expect to see it. A Bumblebee, a Forest Cuckoo Bumblebee to bee exact (sorry). It was a little bit peeved and wasn't really up for some photos, so I let it off to begin it's glorious sunny morning looking for flowers. Then there was the other anomaly, which I've had before and didn't surprise me, an Ichneumon wasp, again, very peeved and released early. Everything else was a moth however and much time was spent trying to sort them all out. Unfortunately, wifey had a bad night and really wasn't feeling well so she couldn't help me. There were some that I've had before, but there were 10 others that were new to me and my list! 
First out were a beautiful pair of Oak Beauty's Biston strataria. Quite a size, in fact the biggest I've caught so far, with a lovely pattern and beautiful feathered antennae.

Oak Beauty B strataria.

Detail showing the lovely feathered antennae.

What I thought was a White Point Mythinma albipuncta turned out to be a Satellite Eupsilia transversa, (thanks Angela). I've also added a picture to show the difference in antennae compared to the Oak Beauty above.

Satellite E transversa.

M albipuncta showing a different sort of antennae.
Another new one was a plume moth Emmelina monodactyla which I'm unable to bring you a photo of as I couldn't get a decent photo. But the season is early and I'm sure they'll be plenty more who are more photogenic.

Another new quaker came to the trap in the form of the Twin Spot Quaker O munda.

Twin Spot Quaker O munda.
Another new a delightful addition to the list was one of the last out of the trap, Pine Beauty Panolis flammea. Such a fantastic pattern and the feeling of achievement when you actually ID something yourself. Usually the moth gods of twitter Sarah @landguardranger, Barry @forelander, Moth Whispers @mothwhispers, Les @dorsetmoths and Angela @Aojandthehounds help ID the harder moths for me. Thanks guys.

Pine Beauty P flammea

And from above you can see how the pattern would make excellent
camouflage against a pine tree. 

So after going through all the moths it was time for a count up.

40 x O cruda
31 x O cerasi
21 x O gothica
1 x O munda
2 x O incerta
2 x C vaccinii
1 x C rubigineas
1 x X areda
1 x E transversa
1 x P flammea
2 x B strataria
1 x E monodactyla
1 x A acanthadactyla
3 x E postvittana
1 x I producta
1 x B sylvestris

110 specimens

16 species

But it doesn't stop there! Oh no, I put some of the first moths into the insect box I have on my fence so they could while away the day in complete safety. I then noticed among the mass of 7 spot ladybirds basking on the vegetation below, that there was another type of bright red beetle also basking. I went to grab it but it fell down into the leaf litter, not to let it go I delved into the leaf litter and came across something completely different, a Black Millipede Tachypodioulus niger, also known as the White-legged Snake Millipede (shows the importance of scientific names).

T niger, not a red beetle.

After the photoshoot and ID'ing I went to put him/her back to the same place he was found and there siting on the plant above was the original little red beetle I was after in the first place. It didn't get away a second time and was successfully identified and photographed. So ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Lily Beetle Lilioceris lilii.

L lilii.
Now before you get to the very end I'll just say here's the list.

99 Skylark Alauda arevensis 10/03/2012
100 Giant House Spider Tegenaria gigantea TM188434 10/03/2012
101 Oak Beauty Biston strataria TM188434 11/03/2012
102 Forest Cuckoo Bumblebee Bombus sylvestris TM188434 11/03/2012
103 Chestnut Moth Conistra vaccinii TM188434 11/03/2012
104 Emmelina monodactyla Emmelina monodactyla TM188434 11/03/2012
105 Early Grey Moth Xylocampa areda TM188434 11/03/2012
106 Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana TM188434 11/03/2012
107 Dotted Chestnut Conistra rubiginea TM188434 11/03/2012
108 Twin Spotted Quaker Orthosia munda TM188434 11/03/2012
109 Clouded Drab Orthosia incerta TM188434 11/03/2012
110 Satellite Eupsilia transversa TM188434 11/03/2012
111 Pine Beauty Panolis flammea TM188434 11/03/2012
112 White-legged Snake Millipede or Black Millipede Tachypodoiulus niger TM188434 11/03/2012
113 Lily Beetle Lilioceris lilii TM188434 11/03/2012

Now you were warned in the beginning that I would warn you when the scary eight legged picture would come, well here's your warning, ARACHNOPHOBES LOOK AWAY NOW!!!!!!!!

Tegenaria gigantea. This spider was at least 5cm across.
For those still with us, see you next time ;)