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.

Silver-studded Blue Butterflies.

A pair of Silver-studded Blue Butterflies mating on a grass seed head. The species gets its name from the pale blue, reflective spots on the underside of the wings. The spots (or studs) can be seen on the female in this shot which is the lower butterfly.

Photographed on Prees Heath, Shropshire, England in the mid 1990s. The butterflies on Prees Heath are isolated, the nearest other colony being some distance away in North Wales. In fact this population is the only one found in central and northern England. The species is not found in Scotland.

Silver-studded Blue Butterflies mating.