Mating Common Pond Skaters.

Throwback Thursday travels back to Cheshire, England in the late 1980s.

I had put in a garden pond specifically for wildlife and the photographic opportunities it would provide. One of the first species to colonise the pond was the Common Pond Skater (Gerris lacustris). I photographed this mating pair as they rested on the edge of a water lily leaf.

Mating Pond Skaters.

CFFC: 2 Items or the Number Two.

This is my contribution to Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: 2 Items or the Number Two.

Having rather a long list of photos to pick from I decided to limit myself to eight photos.

Two tree trunks in the snow on the South Bruce Peninsula, Ontario, Canada.

two tree trunks in snow

Two American Herring Gulls taking a shower on the Lake Huron shoreline in Southampton, Ontario, Canada.

Showering Herring Gulls.

Two Silver-studded Blue Butterflies mating, Shropshire, England.

Silver-studded Blue Butterflies mating.

Two Eurasian Blue Tit, the male has just fed the female during incubation, Cheshire, England.

Feeding during incubation.

Two Banded Demoselles, the female is egg laying with the male in the background, Cheshire, England.

Banded Demoselles.

Two American Avocets feeding on a slough in Saskatchewan, Canada.

A pair of American Avocets.

Two Common Redpolls on the South Bruce Peninsula, Ontario, Canada.

Common Redpolls watching something behind me.

Two Yellow Lady’s Slipper Orchids on the South Bruce Peninsula, Ontario, Canada.

Yellow Lady's Slipper.

Wildlife Garden.

The new Cosmic Photo Challenge is How Does Your Garden Grow.

When I was living in a rural part of Cheshire, England I turned a corner of the garden into a wildlife garden. It became a wildflower meadow and somewhere to photograph plants, insects and birds. I didn’t have to drive anywhere and could set up a hide anywhere for as long as I wanted.

A Dandelion seed head (clock) growing in the meadow.

Dandelion seed head.

This male Common Pheasant in hoarfrost one winter morning was a fairly regular visitor at certain times of the year.

Frosted Pheasant

This pair of Soldier Beetles are mating on Ragwort flowers.

Soldier Beetles mating on Ragwort flowers.

This male Eurasian Bullfinch liked the fresh grass seed heads.

Male Eurasian Bullfinch.

One of the plant species growing in the meadow.

Hardheads.

There was Teasels growing along the edge of the meadow to attract European Goldfinches.

Goldfinch feeding on Teasel.

I picked up the windfall apples from under the trees in the vegetable garden and put them in the grass on the meadow for birds such as this Common Starling.

European Starling in winter.

Looks Like a Face?

The new Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge is Looks Like a Face.

My first thought was some insects that have markings that resemble eyes and are thought to have evolved to startle or frighten potential predators.

The most obvious species for me is the European Peacock, more commonly known simply as the Peacock Butterfly, which gets its common English name from the eyespots on the tip of each wing.

To me, the eyespots on the hindwings make it look like a rabbit peeking out from behind the forewings.

Eyespots on a Peacock Butterfly.

Big and small.

One from the archives taken in Cheshire in the 1980s. It shows two Large White Butterfly caterpillars on Nasturtium leaves.

I can’t explain the difference in size between the two unless they hatched from different groups of eggs. I had seen a female Large White Butterfly egg laying on the Nasturtium  plant and photographed the eggs. I later photographed the eggs hatching and the tiny caterpillars exploring the leaf they hatched on. So I’d have thought that those caterpillars would be similar sizes unless they grow at different rates.

Big and small.