Autumn in my garden with Cookie, Ichneumon Wasps and me

Spending an hour in my freezing garden, I can definitely see the effects of autumn. The most apparent changes are in the plants. Practically all the trees in our garden (excusing the two evergreens) have leaves that are making that transition from leafy green to golden yellows, reds and browns. The garden has become a quieter place as less birds visit, no constant hum of bees and wasp and the lack of crickets serenading.

Autumn trees

The leaves provide lots of fun for Cookie who likes to spend his time chasing leaves.  Aside from said leaf chasing, he was giving me a tour of my own garden by leading the way.

Cookie stalking leaves

What surprised me the most were the empty torn webs that were once strong and invincible. All the orb weavers in the garden have abandoned their webs for the afterlife, regardless of whether they were able to lay their eggs or not. Practically every other spider species is missing although in my hour I saw a few tiny ones. I am shocked by their absence because it was only a week or two when I had last saw hundreds occupying my garden. The cold kills of most spiders and only their eggs and hatchlings survive British winters, huddled up in their cocoon nests.

I found this bright green spider which I believe is a cucumber green spider, scientifically known as Araniella cucurbitina. I’m not a hundred percent sure but I’m pretty confident its’ an Araniella something. It looked pretty cold, all hunched up and along the banister, this was the only spider I could find.

A cucumber spider??

We have a large flower pot that we converted into a mini lily pond. Cookie thought this was worth looking at and after a quick search for interesting objects, he decided a drink was in order. Whilst he was taking a long sip, I found some things residing in the mini pond. And no, it is not frogs!

Cookie having a little drink

Mosquito larva

It is a mosquito larva. Many of these larvae occupy this mini pond. Interestingly, I do not ever see any mosquitoes in my house, mind you, they are quite complex insects. Each species of mosquito has its own little habits and quirks. Not all are after our blood and even then, only the females drink blood. Some prefer certain animals and some take what they can get but many mosquitoes need to drink blood to develop eggs. Spent some time trying to figure out what kind of mossie baby I had here but my photo isn’t very helpful so I might revisit the mossies at the pond another day.

ichneumon wasp

The other thing I manage to find in my garden was this little creature. To me, this looks like a type of ichneumon wasp. Considering how many species reside in the UK and my lack of expertise, I have not managed to find which type of ichneumon wasp this is. I will probably pass this image to those at the ‘wild about Britain’ forum where some members enjoy identifying insects. It was resting on some white plastic which is why the background is so clean. Despite being called a wasp, they do not sting (with the exception of those in the Ophionae subfamily). The stinger is actually called an ovipositor which is used to lay eggs in wood, larvae or pupae, depending on the species.

Anyhow, it is interesting to see how season changes bring changes to the type of things we notice in our gardens. I expect things to become even quieter in the upcoming months as the cold weather really begins to settle.


  1. Enmee June 8, 2015

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