Monday, September 15, 2008

I Am The Harlequin

A sly reference to a song by one of my favourite bands there. I expect most of you have at least heard of Marillion, but probably only know their radio-friendly hit Kayleigh, which reached number two in 1985. I'm afraid I prefer their darker, earlier work and the quote comes from the barnstorming track Emerald Lies from the Fugazi album. If you're into theatrical prog-rock sung by a giant Scotsman dressed up as a jester, it doesn't get much better than this!

I haven't been out birding this weekend, but instead took a look around the garden to see what treasures lay within the flora and fauna. There seems to be an awful lot of Harlequin Ladybirds around this year. A quick bit of research via Google tells me that this species was first detected in this country just four years ago and is believed to have arrived on our shores from Japan, possibly hitching a lift on cut flowers. There are concerns that it may out-compete other native aphid predators, but it seems there is little we can do about it.

Experts say it is too late to try to eradicate the species and state that we shouldn't squish them if found, fearing that many innocent native species may be culled in error if we do so. Oh well, if they're going to become a permanent feature of the British landscape we might as well enjoy them.

Here are a few pictures I took of them this weekend.

Harlequin Ladybird

Harlequin Ladybirds

Harlequin Ladybird

Different form of Harlequin Ladybird

Harlequin Ladybird larva

And whilst I was at it, I had a good root around to see what else I could find.


Weird fly type thing


That last picture reminds me of a joke. What did the slug say to the snail? Big Issue!

I'm looking forward to a short holiday in Devon beginning Wednesday 24 September, and I wouldn't rule out a twitch for anything local this weekend coming, so hopefully I will have some news to report before too long. I'm certainly hoping Devon might yield me a year tick or two, maybe even a lifer. Who knows?

Until then, happy bug hunting!

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