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July 15th

In the woods I spotted this extremely tiny froghopper, but only because he was struggling to extricate himself from a spider’s web built in ivy climbing up a tree trunk.

150712TG-Bryn Euryn-Adder's Field (10)-Nursery-web spider 1In the meadow, the Nursery-web spider would probably have escaped my notice too if I hadn’t been trying to get closer to a butterfly in the brambles. More used to seeing this species web ‘tents’ on the ground in the grass, I wouldn’t have realised who had built this one if I hadn’t seen her guarding it.

Nursery web spider on brambles

There are some lovely wildflowers in bloom in the meadow amongst the grass, my current favourite are the delicate-looking harebells,

150710tg-Bryn Euryn-flwr-Harebells 1

although I have always been fond of the sunshine yellow Lady’s Bedstraw

150712-46-Bryn Euryn-lady's bedstraw patch

but then there’s the Wild Thyme that is looking spectacular this year where a large patch of it cascades down the limestone rocks.

150710tg-Bryn Euryn-flwr-Wild Thyme 1

There’s a Cat’s Ear plant near that spot too, which nicely demonstrates both the flowers and the seedhead ‘clocks’ simultaneously.

150710tg-Bryn Euryn-flwr-Cat's Ear 1

Hogweed works at another level and is an invaluable food source for a whole host of insects from beetles to butterflies.

150710tg-Bryn Euryn-flwr&vw-hogweed in long grass

Some of the insects feasting on the flowers today were Sulphur beetles, including dozens of tiny ‘baby’ ones

A 7-spot ladybird, a so-far un-named brown beetle

There were dozens of Red Soldier Beetles, many in the act of procreation as these beetles always seem to be. There was a little moth there with them, but again I haven’t discovered what it is yet.

150712TG-Bryn Euryn-Crab spider victim trussed up

Whilst photographing a pair of mating Red soldier beetles, I noticed another beetle caught up in spider’s webbing. As I looked closer I spotted the head and front legs of a spider creeping up over the edge of the flower, then she darted out and begin to drag her victim backwards to where she had appeared from. This was a Crab spider, mistress of camouflage and deadly to insects that stray into her path regardless of their size. Cruel, but fascinating and quite a feat as the beetle was as least equal in size to her.

Crab spiders are able to change their body colour to match their background. The process can take a few days, but they can appear white, yellow or green. The  irony of this scene struck me; a beetle life ended in full view of a pair of his kind in the act of procreating the species….

The Crab spider show would take some beating, but my ‘discovery of the day’ was quite definitely a splendid large yellow and black beetle, Strangalia maculata, that surprisingly doesn’t appear to have a common name.

On another flowerhead another spider lurked, this time a small brown one, much enlarged in the photograph.

150710tg-Bryn Euryn-bug-Shield bug 1In the long grass I spotted an insect flying and managed to keep an eye on where it landed, otherwise I would never have found it; a Gorse Shieldbug.

A bright fresh bronzy-coloured forest bug was more easily spotted.

150712TG-Bryn Euryn -bug-Forest bug-Red-legged ShieldbugPentatoma rufipes (1a)

Red-legged shield bug-Pentatoma rufipes

A peek at the oak trees revealed tiny acorns. The ones I photographed belonges to a  Sessile Oak – the acorns sit flat rather than hanging on stems as those of the Pedunculate Oak. Hopefully this will be a better year for them than last year was.

150710tg-Bryn Euryn-tree- Sessile Oak-baby acorns

Rain clouds were gathering – is it really summer?

150712TG-Bryn Euryn-view (3)

Highlighted text for Shieldbugs are links to more details about these insects in my ‘Species Collections’.