Wednesday 21 February 2024


 A couple of weeks ago I had some new visitors to my balcony, it gave me the opportunity to photograph some creepy crawlies that run very fast, and a few other interesting creatures. First of all I'll start by sharing two tiny lizards that after hibernation came out of their hiding places to warm themselves in the sun 

These two types of lizards are common Wall Lizards.

They are very small creatures.

These three images are of the same lizard.

Three images of the other Wall Lizard

The Wall Lizard found a nice warm place to sleep inside my feeder. 

It had already had a snooze when I took these photos and if you look closely you can see the yellow sclera. The Wall Lizard was aware of my presence and is looking at me with a suspicious sideways glance.

The male Stag Beetle.

The male Stag Beetle appear to have huge antlers but they are actually over-sized mandibles used in courtship displays, and to wrestle other male beetles.

There was just enough daylight to capture this tiny field mouse   attracted by all the left over crumbs.

Because it was beginning to rain and the front flap of the swing cover was up, I went outside to cover my swing seat and saw this millipede which had been under the cover.

It curled up when it sensed I was near, Both the millipede and the centipede have poor or none existent vision, and rely on vibrations or shadows to alert them to another presence.

Their body is made up of segments and each segment has two sets of legs positioned directly under the body, whilst the centipede has one set of legs per segment positioned on the side of the body. 

A Centipede on the ceiling. I don't like centipedes because they bite, and also in Spring they sometimes appear inside my house.

The Stink Bug flew to a planter after I had taken the photos, but it has probably flown away by now. 

This unknown spider gave me a fright when I almost put my hand on it.When we had a spell of good weather I opened up the front of the cover which prevents my swing from getting wet, so that I could sit outside on my swing but when rain was forecast I unrolled it and let it down ready to zip up to cover up my swing again, the spider was low down near the zip. It must have been hiding between the cover and canopy, then being disturbed ran down towards the ground. I took these photos then saw it run really quickly under the cover again! I can't kill spiders, but also don't like the idea of it being where I sometimes have a siesta after lunch.

I took rather a lot of photos of this large spider for identification purposes but it is still unidentified., does anyone know it's ID? 
My thanks to Tom, "Tom The Backroad Traveler" for giving me the  ID. It is an  Anyphaena Accentuata. It's common name is Buzzing Spider.

So you don't have nightmares:=) I am sharing a most unusual orchid flower made up of small star shaped flowers. I took this photo years ago when it was on the lounge windowsill. Since then it was moved upstairs to my balcony where it seems to be doing well. I know it doesn't look like an orchid,but the friend who gave it to me assured me that it was but I have forgotten it's identity.  :=(

Look everyone, especially Marit, gardener extraordinaire, :=)) there are three new red leaves appearing right at the bottom, and I am overjoyed to see them. Both images are a little out of focus, but I wanted to end this post in a less creepy way, and as the orchid was put on my balcony recently,three months ago in fact I thought it was the ideal way to finish my post. It seems I was misinformed by my friend who gave it to me at least 30 years ago. It is not an orchid at all but a Hoya plant and mine is named Hoya Carnosa. My thanks to my dear blog friend Marit for giving me the correct identity. 

Wednesday 14 February 2024

EURASIAN JAY garrulus grandarius

Because we have many Oak trees and Chestnut trees on the farm, and berries are plentiful, Eurasian Jays made their nest here and flourish.I have written about them before and how they cache acorns in winter One Jay often caches up to 3000 a month.The Jays are all prolific planters of acorns and although they find most of them, some remain buried, and oak trees are the result.Thank you kindly for adding oaks to the forest.:=) Here are a few photographs I captured recently.


I read something this week that I didn't know about and it surprised me because of recent events (colony of ants taking over a wooden feeder, from which the birds refused to feed from).There is such a thing known as anting which the Eurasian Jay preforms, remaining passive while ants run over it's body. After anting, the bird often bathes then shakes itself and preens. I would have thought it was an irritant, but apparently; the Eurasian Jay and many other birds practice this behaviour.There are two types of anting, active and passive. In active anting a bird will crush an ant in it's bill and smear it on it's feathers or skin. It is thought that the formic acid helps the bird control feather mites.Of course many of you will already be aware of this practise. I was only aware that birds took dust baths to remove excess oil and dandruff from their feathers.

As the Jay performs undulating flight, I see it's conspicuous white rump as it flies away but it is oh so difficult to capture in flight, I try very hard but so far have not succeeded, and they usually fly low and between trees making it even more difficult.

Tuesday 6 February 2024


Hello again! I took some time off blogging for a while as I didn't feel too well, my knee was really painful. So much so, that I could not concentrate to make a post or visit anyone..There were days when I felt confused and unable to function normally, Except for taking photos  I just wanted to get into bed and rest.

Last week we had severe storms and the relentless rainfall and grim dark days made photography impossible,however this week was a lot better, with some rain, but it was mostly sunny. I have chosen some photos that were taken in sequence, whilst others are birds I was able to capture either in trees or on my balcony  Last week I had ten Greenfinch on my balcony, and another visit from a squirrel. The little Firecrest keeps coming but I only managed to capture two decent images as it doesn't  stay on the balcony long enough.for me to focus. The little wooden box where the Firecrest used to feed from has been taken over by a colony of small black ants so none of the birds like to feed from it, as the ants crawl up their legs and get into their feathers, but I have noticed that the Firecrest will feed from the ground so I sprinkle some cake crumbs in a corner of the balcony and it isn't long before the shy Firecrest appears, hiding in the shadows.

I have taken numerous Greenfinch photos, and some other bird images that I hope you will enjoy, Will is amongst them, as he waits for me to fill the feeders every morning and appears shortly after. I have also included rather a lot of images of him and Wilma. :=) One day as I was looking out of the window a Treecreeper appeared  on the tree trunk where I see the Greenfinch perching in the branches, but although I took photos they were all  blurred. It's almost the same colour as the tree, camouflaging he Treecreeper, so I have nothing to show for my efforts. I also discovered that although the Great Spotted Woodpecker is colourful it can be deceptively obscure at times. I wait for it's arrival, only to observe it has been hiding behind a tree branch all the time, it's red underparts out of view. The European Jay stops at the balcony on occasion, and I take full advantage of these precious moments. and have many photos to share.

Early morning.

Four Blue-tit images in sequence.


Coal -tit.

The Green finch always like to perch high up in the tree, so there are many narrow branches that get in the way of a good shot.

There he is, my favourite little guy Will.

The Firecrest. but no food., as the minute I fill it with cake it turns black with ants.

Hello Will!

More Will captures.



 Notice the absence of red feathers on the back of the head.

There are dozens of Jays that come for the peanuts.

I never see them when the leaves are on the trees, so I delight in taking as many photos as I can.

Inquiring look from the Great-tit.

The Robin Red Breast posing on the  wooden box, but the box is empty.

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