Wednesday, May 18

What's been spitting on our lavender

We always have lots of cuckoo spit on our lavender plants. When I was a child I used to think it actually was a cuckoo that was spitting on the plants and thought what a dirty habit the bird had.
My photography challenge for yesterday besides trying for more bee photos was to take a photo of the creature responsible. It’s quite a tiny creature and being green like the plant leaves can be a challenge to see. On top of that when its foam blanket is removed it moves fairly quickly.

I did manage this shot of the frog hopper beetle larva. The larva produces bubbly froth from an unmentionable part of its body to protect it from predators and stop it drying out while it sucks juices from the plant.

So why did the poor cuckoo get blamed for the ‘spit’ well apparently it first occurs around the same time as the cuckoo is heard. A rather poor case for the prosecution!

I guess it’s one creature that is happy for us to have missed the promised downpours. Not really any rain of any value to the ground yet here which is why yesterday on the plot we got plenty of exercise lugging around cans of water!

Bird Cam update
Sad news – at least one of our chicks has died as we saw mum take it from the nest. I suspect at least one more may have also died. I guess this is the downside of watching a nest!


13 comments:

  1. Ewww!

    Looks like a load of bubble wrap.

    Pictures are very interesting!

    Martin

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  2. There's lots of cuckoo spit on my lavender too, I really didn't need to see the creature responsible though, yuck. What a shame about the babies, that's the downside to nature.

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  3. We have cuckoo spit but to date, no cuckoo. We heard one (ONE!) last year and none the year before. Our barn owls have suffered in the bad winter too. I haven't seen one this year at all and on a botany evening we used to see at least one, occasionally 3 or 4.

    You are tempting me to get a better camera!

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  4. What a strange creature! I wonder if we have them in Australia...

    What kind of lavender are you growing?

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  5. Hi!It's Cicada
    Look here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cicada
    Have a nice day!

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  6. Oh so sad about those baby birds. You have many good macro shots now.

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  7. Very wet bubblewrap M&A

    We lost another two babies today Jo - it was a bit tense as mum struggled to remove them from the nest and laid the dead chick on top of the live ones after which they seemed to be still for ages. Now there is some movement but a bit restrained.

    We heard one cuckoo this year VH after a few years of not hearing one.

    It's just English lavender Phoebe - could be Hidcote - it is grown as a border round some of our fruit beds on the plot. The flowers are a bit variable as some came from a set of mini plugs, some may have come from cuttings and some from seed from plants in the garden.

    It's definitely frog hopper larva Vasi we don't have cicadas here and the larva is only a few millimetres long.

    Just fingers crossed for the remaining babies Diana - I'm hoping no-one nearby has used an insecticide and the parents are feeding their chicks poisoned grubs!

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  8. Hi Sue, great close up shots of the larva. Sorry to hear about the chicks. I hope the rest of the chicks make it ok! Interesting how things get named, poor Cuckoo! (in that case at least)

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  9. We have either 4 or 5 chicks remaining Jenni. Should be five as we have only seem 3 bodies disposed of. The remaining chicks are becoming quite fluffy - I'll be posting another video tomorrow

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  10. Hope some of the chicks make it through to fledge. I've not seen any cuckoo spit in our garden yet and I'll be on the lookout now!

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  11. I'm a bit concerned about one of the remaining chicks Damo as it looks less well developed than the rest

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  12. Interesting about the cuckoo spit...although I did know what was inside it as I was always an inquisitive child!!

    Sorry to hear about the chick.....fingers crossed for the other babes

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