I love it when people find wildlife inspiration in their own back gardens, so I was delighted when, on the back of my article in this latest edition of RSPB ‘Birds’ magazine, this appeared in my Inbox from Jade Smith.

For anyone who has been waiting for me to show photos of garden wildlife taken away from the soft south, this you’ll be pleased to know that Jade took this wonderful photo in her garden near Halifax.

It’s a froghopper, and was crawling around amongst the prickles of her globe-thistle.

I’m no expert on froghoppers, but it looks very much like the Common Froghopper Philaenus spumarius. What an amazing little beastie it is, seen up close like this - in real life it is barely a centimetre long.If anyone can tell me why they have a corrugated nose, I'd love to know!

This is one of the creatures that create the ‘cuckoo-spit’ froth you see on all sorts of plants in spring (when the Cuckoos are singing), or at least their nymphs do - it's how they protect themselves from predators.

I emailed back to Jade to thank her, and she explained that she had consulted all sorts of books and web sites before planting her garden so that it addressed the needs of all sorts of insects – “Little did Ii know that I would end up taking photos of them!” she said.

She also sent me her favourite bee images. These were taken at the end of May in the garden of the Quaker Meeting House in Skipton, North Yorkshire. Her friends who are the wardens there then created a display to teach visitors just which species of bees are living in the garden. Well, if that isn't Stepping up for Nature, I don't know what is!

 

Anonymous