The Way I See Things



Today felt more like the second week of June than the second week of October. In terms of the future of the planet this is quite worrying - but I confess that I'm finding it impossible not to enjoy the temporary postponement of autumn.

The warm sunshine had the garden teeming with invertebrates, and my biggest challenge in photographing them was that most were well revved-up and flighty. I spotted this Parent Bug on the quince tree, which is currently housing several species of beetles and bugs - today I also found Hawthorn and Green Shieldbugs among the lower leaves, as well as Orange, Cream-spotted, Seven Spot, and Harlequin Ladybirds, and numerous smaller weevils, flea beetles, plant bugs, and leafhoppers. Some of these creatures tend towards the stoical, but Parent Bugs are generally nervy, and a split second after I took this my victim spread his wings and flew.

As I said when describing the Parent Bug last year, it's my ambition to find a clutch of eggs being guarded by their mother, or a crèche of young nymphs being watched by two or more females - but yet again this summer I've failed (though I did turn up a handful of late instar nymphs a couple of weeks ago). Happily, this failure is down to the difficulty of spotting a small bug and its tiny eggs in my tall, mature birch trees, rather than lack of fertility among the local Parent Bugs: I'm finding news season adults all over the garden at the moment, and it looks as though they've had a very good breeding year. The new adults will overwinter in bark crevices or leaf litter, emerging to breed and complete their life cycles in the spring. Males like this one die soon after mating, while the females live on long enough to brood their offspring.

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