Sunday, 6 December 2015

Another surprise from Mum's conservatory

I wasn't out and about last weekend as Mum was readmitted to hospital following more surgery complications. However this weekend she was finally allowed home so I spent most of my time at hers. As always I had my camera, and three lenses, and my trail cam with just never know what is going to turn up in her garden. A few weeks ago I found a Common Newt in her kitchen !
This morning however, as I was enjoying my morning cup of coffee whilst Mum was still resting, my eyes were wandering around the conservatory when I saw this.....
I took a couple of snaps on my iPhone for id purposes then got out the macro lens to get a closer look.....

It's a female Speckled bush-cricket (Leptophyes punctatissima).
Fairly common in gardens and hedgerows where it feeds on leaves and flowers of a variety of plants. It's quite usual to see them during the day motionless on a windowsill or a plant stem or leaf and they are more active during dusk and dawn. They overwinter as eggs rather than adults.
Where this one came from is anyones guess, I still haven't fathomed out how the Common Newt got in.
Usually at this time of year the female has finished laying her eggs and has died off. However it has been so mild that this female is still hanging on.
We didn't want to put her outside as the frosts are sure to come soon, so we decided to leave her where she is. Plus she was quite high up and out of reach. Some of the later photos I took suggest she was trying to lay eggs on the glass, but even with binoculars I could see no eggs so we're just going to let her live out her last days in the relative comfort of the conservatory. There are plenty of plants in there should she wish to drop down for a feed.
Thank you to the facebook group 'Insects of Britain and Northern Ireland' for their id and advice.

and this is me below at one of the odd angles I had to get in to try and get a macro snap of her.....

As I had my trail cam with me I obviously set it up before going to bed last night. Something triggered it off three times but I got no images.
I don't think the trail cam is working properly, I didn't capture any video clips despite checking the settings. And I only got a few stills today despite seeing for myself the amount of birds that were present in front of the camera.
One of them was this male Chaffinch with the obvious signs of a disease which I think is viral papillomas. Not a lot can be done for these birds but I remember reading somewhere that cleaning the bird feeders on a regular basis helps. However, as Chaffinches are not usually found on bird feeders but rather more on the ground, I'm not sure how true this is.

Later this morning I positioned the trail cam in front of a peanut feeder and shallow water bowl that we've wedged on to a three pronged old tree stump. Again, despite seeing a lot of activity around the feeder and in the water bowl itself, the trail cam only managed to capture a couple of still photos and no video footage at all.

Collared Dove 'selfie'

Great Spotted Woodpecker
Before next weekend I need to have a proper look at the trail cam and fathom out where I am going wrong.
But it was nice to add something new to Mum's garden list - a Speckled Bush-cricket.


  1. Hiya, very interesting post with some good pics of the cricket.... Spooky though that you should write about your trail camera I was thinking that we hadn't heard much from you about it in a while. Sorry to hear the video doesn't appear to be working, hopefully just some silly setting needed to sort it... I'm hoping to get a trail cam from Santa, but there seems to be quite a few to choose from with mixed reviews and many look to be same thing with different branding. Which one have you got and do you have any suggestions for what to look for ? The biggest disappointment is they all seem to use the same low quality sensor and just use software to get extra megapixels....

  2. Hi Kish.
    I've got the LTL Acorn 6210 (12mp). Up until the last two weeks it was working perfectly fine, so I think its user error rather than the equiptment itself.
    I chose it after reading a great review on a nature forum, and will try to find the link to it. It's the next best thing to a Bushnell for people on a budget. Though if you can afford it, a Bushnell is the best option to buy.