Wildlife Wednesday – Swallowing Flies

The air is shimmering with wildlife. It has got to the time of year when it is hard not to breathe in an invertebrate or two if you are working or walking outside. In the borders the buzzing is a lot more scary when you are bent over with your head in the flowers, dead-heading or weeding, because bees and hoverflies seem to drawn to headfuls of hair in an unfathomable way.

Insects seemed to start appearing this year in increasing number some time in June. Suddenly there were flying insects everywhere. How fortunate for these winsome youngsters:


Baby blackbird looking so funny without its long tail.


Baby swallows anticipating the flyby of a parent bearing insects

Dog walks by the river have become much more entertaining with the dragonflies and damselflies on the wing. They flit ahead of you always just out of focus! Unfortunately for this fellow a cobweb was hung across his escape route and he became entangled as he moved away from me.


Male banded demoiselle caught in a spider’s web

I managed to unravel the sticky silk and he flew away untroubled (I had caused his problem after all). Luckily, as I climbed back up the bank I encountered another beautiful example basking in the watery sunlight and he stayed still enough for a photo.


Banded demoiselle, Calopteryx splendens

Away from the river, in the long grass, brown butterflies are becoming more numerous and add to the scintillating feel of the air. There are even butterflies in our small meadow patch in the garden now,


Meadow Brown on knautia

including the rather lovely Ringlet:


Ringlets have a dark velvety wingspan and distinctive circles on the undersides.

Another common butterfly in the meadow, most often seen on the knapweed, is the Large Skipper. Males have thick black line through centre of fore-wing and frequently perch in the sun waiting for passing females. Brambles are a favourite food source.


Large Skipper, Ochlodes sylvanus

The last little brown butterfly that I am seeing a lot of on walks and in the garden is the Speckled Wood. It haunts the shady alleyways between fields and the ivy in the hedge around the garden.


Speckled Wodd butterfly, Pararge aegeria

As for the smaller winged insects, like hoverflies and flea beetles , one of the most attractive flowers to them in the countryside just now is common hogweed. The flat flower heads are positively loaded with all manner of flies:


The developing seedheads are wonderfully geometric and will become part of the distinctive winter landscape, as a lacy edging to the fields and as anchors to frosted cobwebs.

I am linking this post with Tina’s Wildlife Wednesday meme, which is 2 years old today apparently. Happy birthday! It is a lovely focus to have once a month. Long may it continue.


About Frogend_dweller

Living in the damp middle of nowhere
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18 Responses to Wildlife Wednesday – Swallowing Flies

  1. Tina says:

    Just gorgeous photos!! I love your descriptions, especially of there being so many insects one practically breathes them in!! That’s a healthy environment. Lovely little butterflies, but that Banded demoiselle really does win the beauty contest for today! Thanks for participating in Wildlife Wednesday–such a treat!

    • Well I’ve certainly found the surge in hoverflies and butterflies numbers very cheering, after the slow first half of the year. I look forward to those beautiful damselflies by the river at this time every year. They fly like butterflies, with a slow wing beat (or at least it looks like that to me)

  2. Eliza Waters says:

    Beautiful photos, Allison! I love the rich jeweled color of the Banded Demoiselle and that baby bird is so sweet – ‘Are You My Mother?’ 🙂

    • The metallic colouring of the banded demoiselle is wonderful (OK I love shiny things), but it is the spots on the wings that grab your attention when they move. The baby blackbird was on path so we were a bit worried about it, but it hopped under the bushes shortly afterwards. I hope it stayed safe.

  3. What an evocative post of the summer countryside teeming with new life. Great to see the butterflies and damsels in flight after the grey weeks of June, just as well with all those hungry mouths to feed. Have you seen/heard crickets yet?

  4. Great post—I love your descriptions and your photos are beautiful!

  5. Lovely pictures….
    Take care, Laura

  6. So many interesting insects and butterflies….but oh my favorite is the baby birds.

    • Yes. I love the remaining fluffy tufts sticking out like eyebrows on the baby blackbird. The baby swallows were very entertaining on the wire waiting for food. You wouldn’t know that they were there and then suddenly they made such a racket as they clamoured for the attention of the busy parent (and of course only one was lucky each time).

  7. Sue says:

    Beautiful close ups of the butterflies but I loved the baby bird!

  8. Excellent photographs. Dragonflies are lots of fun to watch.

    • Thank you. Definitely hours of entertainment to be had. These banded demoiselles fly much more like butterflies than other kinds, making lilting paths through the reeds and grasses.

  9. Sam says:

    Fabulous photos. Love the one with the swallows.

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