I skinny-legged it down to the end of my street
There’s a ‘Local Nature Reserve’ at the end of my street, Hartshill Park. I hardly ever walk through it with my camera, not because I don’t appreciate what I have right on my doorstep, more because it’s usually full of dog walkers.
I’ve nothing against dogs, or their humans. It’s just that over many years I’ve found the pastimes of wildlife photography and dog walking don’t mix well. I’ve startled many a dog as they come across me standing motionless in a hedgerow. And many a dog has startled me too, bouncing up playfully but unexpected.
Today though, the city-centre green space was the location for a quick lunchtime walk.
Hartshill Park is a large nature reserve stretching along the western edge of the city of Stoke-on-Trent, England. The park is a patchwork of different habitats, including five ponds. It is notable for being part of a Norman deer hunting park that has survived as open space into the modern era. Wikipedia
OK, so lunchtime on a bright and sunny early summer’s day is probably not the best time in the day for insect photography ‘on the hoof’. The light is harsh. The mini-beasts are warmed up and skittish. But, you take your moments when you can.
I stood for a while next to a flowering bramble bush to see what would arrive, and caught these little gems.
Yes, noble little things, aren’t they?! Thick-legged Flower Beetles. They’re also known as ‘swollen-thighed’ flower beetles, a nomenclature I can’t type without smiling. It’s only the males of the species that have the swollen thighs.
I should give Hartshill Park more of my time. Judging by the date of the ‘Working Parties’ poster on the park’s noticeboard, so should its ‘Friends’.
Incidentally, if, like me, you need help identifying any critters, download the iNaturalist Seek app to your smartphone. Using the magic of AI, the app identifies any snaps you upload to it. It’s a great learning tool, I use it all the time. You can even keep a list of sightings your record, and you’re awarded ‘badges’ as you record more species in each category.
Thanks for now,
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