First of all, what is this insect? (Amelia? Anyone? NOW SEE BELOW FOR ID) I saw a couple in the garden last year but had no camera with me. Today I at least had my phone. I’m sure it’s completely obvious – ‘a sting-snouted lesser hornet’ – but I’d like an authoritative ruling. Additional clue: they can hover.Bee Query Totnell 1 Bee query Totnell 2

Thanks to Jessica of  the excellent blog NATURE IN FOCUS  for ID as a member of the Bombylidae family, with the common name of bee-flies (see comments below). That lead me to the Natural History Museum website, where I found a very similar creature Bombylius major. The wing patterns in particular look much the same.Here’s the NHM image.

Bee Fly Bombylius maj NHM

Secondly, there’s supposed to be a pink moon either tonight at around 3.00 a.m. tomorrow morning; or possibly tomorrow night at 3.00 the next night… It’s caused by a lunar eclipse, expected to last from 2.00 am to 4.30. The pink / red is to do with angle and atmosphere (as with dawn and dusk). Apparently. I tried to photograph the moon last night here in Dorset, where the light pollution is not too bad. It shone with extraordinary brightness and ‘flared’ my attempts. I’ve pinked one up in case I don’t wake up for the real thing…Pink Moon

An opportunity to remember Nick Drake, I think… Here’s the full album for nostalgics – and just the title track to follow.



Earlier today I posted a lot of dramatic  ‘Storm Jude’ images on my main blog, which relates to the island of Abaco, Bahamas and its wildlife. You can see that post HERE. The Bahamas storm season last from July to October, and most years a hurricane or severe tropical storm passes through, leaving a trail of destruction. It’s a part of life, and the settlements and communities are prepared for the annual likelihood of battening down of hatches and disruption. This year has, amazingly, been clear of any major storms. Last year, Sandy passed directly over Abaco; the previous year, it was Irene.

Hurricane Jude? Jude-zilla? Whatever name the UK’s storm of the last 24 hours becomes known by, the country had plenty of warning of its arrival – unlike the last major storm in 1987. Here are some images that a friend send me today of the aftermath of the storm in the Helford River area of Cornwall.

P1020016P1020006P1010960P1010961P1010959P1020015All Photos: Clare Latimer


FROST CRYSTALS ON DIFFERENT PLANT SURFACES – BAY, BRAMBLE, GRASS – & A POST IN DORSETFrost Crystals Dorset 1 Frost Crystals Dorset 2 Frost Crystals Dorset 3 Frost Crystals Dorset 4 Frost Crystals Dorset 5 Frost Crystals Dorset 6 Frost Crystals Dorset 7