about this blog



I started this blog in 2008. It started mainly as a way of tracking the evolution of my dry garden, and that led to an interest in photography and in the creatures that live in the garden. It's still about the garden and wildlife, but now my passion is thinking about how we humans can learn to co-exist with wild animals and plants, especially in urban areas.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

insects in the spring garden


Taking photos of insects without a macro lens has its advantages, I think. Although you can't see the critter in intricate and fascinating detail, you can better appreciate the scale of the insect in relation to its environment.


You can also see details of its environment. I'm especially interested to see which insects are attracted to the indigenous plants, some of which are flowering for the first time. The ladybird in the first photo was living on Acacia implexa, an indigenous acacia highly recommended for attracting wildlife.

The Hoverfly above was flying around the numerous small white flowers of the Sticky Boobialla, another indigenous plant. Actually, clouds of them have been flying around, but I haven't been able to capture any in their hover flight mode. (Hoverflies hover in the one spot, then suddenly move sideways or forward, then hover again).



I'm not sure if these bees are native or European honey bees. They are attracted to the non native Borage and Echium flowers. I hope they're native bees. 


I have grown to love Slaters. These tiny multi-legged crustaceans bumble around the compost, feeding on decaying organic matter, but they are found all over the garden, seen most clearly when they're going for a walk along a path. They are like miniature dinosaurs!

I've seen clouds of small white butterflies that I haven't seen before. I haven't managed to photograph them and I haven't managed to identify them. I don't think they're Cabbage Whites because they're smaller and don't have black dots on their wings.

There have also been quite a few Australian Painted Lady Butterflies. They're not so difficult to photograph, but I haven't been in the right place at the right time with a camera.


Flies belong to the order Diptera. More than 7000 dipteran species have been described in Australia, and the Australian Museum believes there are probably still three times more to be discovered! Apparently there are more known fly species than fish, reptile, amphibian, bird and mammal species put together!


This is a Robber Fly, belonging to the suborder Brachycera, species undetermined, with what looks like another Robber Fly. Whether the second one is mate, prey, or both is uncertain.

I'm pretty pleased with the numbers and variety of insects in the garden. Biodiversity is the aim, and a sign of a healthy environment. Even aphids are welcome now, because hoverflies lay their eggs in aphid colonies and the aphids become food for the hoverfly larva, or maggots.

I caught sight of a visiting damsel or dragonfly today. I know they won't live in a garden without a pond, but I appreciate the visits.

There are also lots of tiny spiders and large webs and, when the light is right, I can see silken lines - spider highways - in the air.

21 comments:

  1. Our Porterville dragonflies spent a lot of time puttering in the rose garden. An afternoon rest in the shade.

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    1. roses are not native for you like with us but I guess the dragonflies are open minded!

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  2. Our climates are so different. You're in Spring and we are in Autumn. Your gardens are waking up and mine are going to sleep. lol
    I love to watch insects. They are always so busy ....

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    1. It is very interesting to see the contrast, and amazing the way our cyber relationship bridge the whole world.

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  3. I also photograph insects without a macro...wonderful captures of your biodiversity...and dragonflies too. I am amazed that insects are still around as we have not had our killing freeze yet. Then they will be done for the year many hibernating.

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    1. the insect cycles must be so different in our different climates. I've never thought about insects hibernating before ...

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  4. A spring menagerie of visitors to your healthy garden. Some seem similar to ours; others unfamiliar. Isn't it rewarding when you plant to benefit them, and then you see the results?!

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    1. It's exciting and rewarding, although there are so many hoverflies now I don't know what they'll all find to eat!

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  5. Your slaters look like what we have always called roly-polies. These little creatures will roll up into little balls when frightened. Do your slaters do that?

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    1. yes they do, Deb, they must be same creatures. So-o-o cute ...

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  6. Visiting from the United States, I enjoyed seeing your borage (I grew it years ago) and...yes, your roly polies. That's what we call them, too, in upstate New York. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

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  7. Macro, I thought it simply meant taking a close up shot until recently. Like yourself I take some shots of insects, I don't have much success although very occasionally I am surprised. We are having quite a mild spell at the moment, Winter is just upon us and before long I will be doing what I always do, wishing my life away and longing for Spring.

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    1. Hi Alastair, It must be hard when it's so cold, but presumably it's not as cold as Aberdeen, is it? I find photography really hard, and I can relate to what you write about occasionally being surprised but generally not having much success.

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  8. I love that every time you look through the viewfinder/ lens of your camera it serves to focus you, the photographer on what you are looking at. I find this so often when photographing flowers, that I really LOOK at them for the first time, and see things I have never noticed before!

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    1. I agree, unfortunately I get frustrated because I look and see, but the camera often doesn't record it the way I see it.

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  9. I haven't catch a fly on my flower yet. I must one day. Re darker hair you wrote about yours, I want! I have to dye my hair now each time I go to the salon and I don't like it... sigh.

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    1. I've dyed and not gone to heaven! (lol) Hope you catch a fly soon, Steph.

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    2. LOL... oic. You have a wonderful day :-)

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  10. Do slaters ever damage plants? Or is it only when they've already begun to rot that they come in and start feasting? Maybe I've blamed them unfairly...

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    1. Hi Amy, I think you've blamed them unfairly. I think they only eat rotting matter - they're not only cute, they're our friends!

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