Defamation of Character!

As you probably realised I have been away for a few days, gathering botanical specimens for the benefit of our understanding and not what Fizz said, that is just her impish sense of fun.

Impish sense of funI was not lying in a ditch, I was in the pink.

Starting with pinks, I have got Primroses.
PrimroseNot pins or thrums or even yellow ones, I have got pink Primroses.

Pink Primrose

Pink PrimroseThis is the real thing, not a hybrid or garden escapee, this is the pink form of Primula vulgaris subspecies vulgaris a pink wild Primrose. They are not that rare but I didn’t have pictures and now I do πŸ™‚

Pink Primrose

Pink Primrose

Pink Primrose

Pink PrimroseNow put pink out of your mind or the colours might clash.

This next one was a wonderful find.

I have been walking miles to get photographs of the various stages of Coltsfoot. A couple of days ago I was walking back from just such an expedition when we came to the gate.

This is where Fizz likes to play “The Gate Game.”
The Gate GameThis particular gate is by the side of a track we regularly walk and it is very close to home.

The rules of the game are simple. She runs under the gate with the ball and sits there looking at me, she won’t budge. If I climb over the gate she runs back under, to the other side and we play again. She can play this game for a long time. It is so funny. (Her impish sense of fun, again)

This time when I climbed over, I forgot all about her and didn’t bother coming back.

Coltsfoot on my doorstep.
ColtsfootI have shown you the flower, it is a beautiful flower but that’s not it.

We had been out for about three hours in bright sunshine and we hadn’t seen an insect, not even a Butterfly. The Coltsfoot was swarming with them.

I need these photographs again for Easy Wildflowers. It is okay to say, “Provides a valuable source of nectar and pollen early in the year” but it is much better to have photographs.

Honey Bees.
Honey BeeWhen I photograph insects I really want to get the eyes and it can get very frustrating trying to capture Bees on Thistles or Dandelions because they bury their faces in the flower. Coltsfoot is lovely and flat and it doesn’t give them anywhere to hide.

Honey Bee

Honey Bee

Honey Bee

Moving on…Honey BeeThere were lot’s of Butterflies but all of them Small Tortoiseshells and some of them were quite badly torn so today I will move past them quite quickly. (We will have lots of Butterflies later)

Small Tortoiseshell(Butterfly nectaring on Coltsfoot)

I just want to show you one more insect today. This next one is a Hover Fly, called a Drone Fly it is a Bee mimic.

This is Eristalis tenex.

You can tell it is a Hover Fly and not a Bee because it only has two wings and it has a thick waist.

Common Drone FlyIt has huge eyes that would meet in the middle if it were a male, this one is female and it has stubby little antennae.

Common Drone FlyIt is not quite so easy to get it to species, they can vary in colour a lot.

This is Eristalis tenex because it has a banana shaped back leg (curved rear tibia).

Eristalis tenexThe hairs on it’s back legs are longer in the centre of each section and that is indicative of species.

Eristalis tenexIf you look closely there are two lines of fine hair running down it’s eyes. That is probably not very clear unless you are looking for it.

Eristalis tenexOh dear. Am I boring you?

Bored FizzJust one more little flower today.

I have been fretting over this one. It is already in flower and I haven’t put it on EW yet. There are two subspecies and I wanted the pictures to show the difference. This is the flower in question.

The Ivy-leaved Speedwell.

Ivy-leaved Speedwell

You have to look closelyIvy-leaved Speedwell

Really closely.Ivy-leaved Speedwell

There it is.Ivy-leaved Speedwell

A British pond coin is about the same size as a wedding ring and an Ivy-leaved Speedwell is the same size as the “G” in “REG.”Ivy-leaved SpeedwellInside the flower there are even tinier bits (smaller than Fizz) and what I have been looking for is a picture of the anthers just before they open to produce pollen. There is a fairly small window of opportunity.

If the anthers are bright blue, before they get covered with white pollen and all the other bits add up then it is Veronica hederifolia subspecies hederifolia and that is what I think that I have got here.

Ivy leaved speedwellDoes it really matter? Will anybody ever look?

What do you think Fizz?

FizzFizz thinks that we should play ball.

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56 thoughts on “Defamation of Character!”

  1. If I were a bug I would be a Hover Fly because I have a thick waist.

    This post is breaking my frozen heart. I am still up to my knees in snow and today was -8 Celcius. If it weren’t for the birds raising a ruckus at 5:30 in the morning I wouldn’t know spring had arrived. Your posts give me hope.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you John πŸ™‚ My camera is a Panasonic FZ200 bridge camera. It just fits my budget and is small enough and versatile enough. It is just not quite quick enough for those in-flight bird shots. Otherwise it takes a nice picture.

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    1. Thank you RR πŸ™‚ The insects around here certainly seem to be making a bee-line to it. Bright yellow flowers, rich with nectar and pollen but also it is a sun worshipper and that is something the insects appreciate. I think that a lot of the early woodland flowers miss out on a lot of attention because they grow in the cooler shade.

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    1. Thank you Clare πŸ™‚ Actually, the only way that I can end the game is to pretend to walk away and go home. She gives up quite quickly when I won’t play with her but she will try again next time we pass that gate πŸ™‚

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  2. You are ahead of us here. I have seen a couple of ants and an ichneumon wasp (posting coming soon) so far. There are a few flowers in the neighborhood but none at our place yet. Your pictures are great. And you are right about the bees, they do like to dig head first into their business!

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    1. Thank you Dennis πŸ™‚ A lot of the trick to seeing these early insects is finding the places that they like to visit. That is why finding this patch of Coltsfoot was such a delight. There are not many insect hot spots at this time of year, even here.

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  3. I just adore those primroses!!! πŸ™‚ They are so sweet and delicate and beautiful! oh, and I never knew that flower was called Coltsfoot. It is called Hestehov in Norwegian which means Horse’s hoof. It is very special in Norway, because it is the first sign of spring, whenever we find it we make a big deal about it because we know spring is coming. It was always exciting when I was little to see who would be the first in my class to find one, we would bring it to school and celebrate the arrival of spring. It is also traditional that the child who finds it brings it home to his or her mother and the mother puts it in a little egg cup (or whatever it is called in English, you know that little cup you keep the egg in when you eat it). I did that so many times. And we have lots of spring songs about the child who finds the first Hesethov πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

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    1. Thank you Trini πŸ™‚ I have read about the Coltsfoot in Norway and Denmark too. It is nice that the flower has that tradition and that it gets recognised. In the UK most people have never even heard of a Coltsfoot and think that it is a Dandelion when they see it.

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      1. Oh!! In Norway every child knows the different between dandelion and Coltsfoot!! Dandelion is called Lion’s tooth (LΓΈvetann) in Norwegian. Children use it to shoot the flower off from the stem, but mothers don’t like it because the “milk” inside the stem can give rashes and boils, so children will pick Coltsfoot for their mothers but never dandelion πŸ™‚

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  4. Lovely photos of bee and dronefly on coltsfoot. And great details for identification. Here too in Ireland the coltsfoot is really important food source for the early pollinators.

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    1. Thank you πŸ™‚ Coltsfoot provides a great opportunity for insect photography, especially because it grows in good light. The only problem is that the flower is so bright I can’t get the exposure right for both a dark insect and the dazzling flower.

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  5. Since I started looking (and it’s all your fault) I have started to see the most exquisite flowers that I never saw before. Tiny little ones that are more beautiful that ones we see every day. Like your speedwell.

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    1. Thank you John πŸ™‚ I think that it is wonderful that we have all of these tiny little thing about us all filling vital roles to keep life rolling along. They know what they are doing even if we don’t.

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  6. This was a very uplifting post and glad to hear those rumours about you are untrue πŸ˜‰ Although we could understand why you might have been feeling a little down in the dumps without Christopher. But with so many spring things popping up, you have much to keep you occupied. Lovely photos as always. Here we went backwards, spring has officially begun and although the sun is shining we were back to minus 12 C today 😦

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    1. Thank you Stephanie πŸ™‚ Our weather is pretty unsettled at the moment. Fortunately the returning Swallows haven’t got a clue about the weather here, they just know that it is time to fly home πŸ™‚

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  7. We had a snowstorm today. The plows are out. So no sun, no flowers, nothing green and few living things. Definitely no flowers. This post was wonderful. The bees, beautiful in their detail and the flowers were so lovely. Thank you. Oh, and hi Fizz.

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  8. I chose a photo of a bee in a flower as a PC background. Again, this is a great Post with much info to store in our mental computers. I never come away without something to share with my friends here. This is a good place to spend some time.

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  9. I have been a little busy and missed your posts. Spectacular shots of bees in flowers. I am envious! Yes, I did look at the picture of the tiny hederifolia. Interesting that we often discount tiny flowers when they are just as beautiful as larger specimens. We just need to look more closely to appreciate them. Naughty Fizz did get me wondering about your behaviour… πŸ˜‰

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