Sunflower Residence – Some Shy Butterflies

This series is nearing slowly its end. Had I had time and strength to post more often, it would probably be already over – the sunflowers are now mostly dead, at least most of the main blossoms are. All that remains are some smaller secondary blossoms that might or might not go to seed, depending on how soon/late the frost comes.

Anyhoo, today two pictures of butterflies who both buggered off before I could take a second picture closer-up, and neither of them obliged to open their wings so I get a good view, let alone a shot off, their upper side.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

I do at least know that this one is a member of the family Satyridae, very probably meadow brown Maniola jurtina, which is a very common species around here. I ain’t no butterflyist, but I do think I got the species correctly.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

This little bugger is also common here, common brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni. It is one of the first butterflies that show up after winter, sometimes even when there is still snow to be found on the north side of buildings and in the forests.

Although when I say these two species are common, it only means that they are still here in numbers big enough to see them. They are rare compared to what used to be here when I was a kid.

Midsummer Afternoon – Part 2 – Fish in the Aquarium

Guest posts by Ice Swimmer


There is a brackish water fish exhibit on the island Harakka. The fishes, caught from the Gulf of Finland, spend their summer in aquariums and they are released back to the sea in the Autumn. In the Baltic Sea, both freshwater tolerant of some salinity and marine tolerant of low salinity species live next to each other.

The fish pictured here are less typical or well-known in Finnish waters.

In the first picture, a tench can be seen. In Fínnish, it’s called suutari, which means cobbler or shoemaker (but the name may have nothing to do with making shoes, the fish is called sutare in Swedish and shoemaker is skomakare in Swedish). The tenches were rather inactive in the aquarium. The tench is freshwater fish.

A Lazy Tench © Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

There are some pipefishes in the Baltic Sea. The pipefishes are relatives of sea horses. This broadnosed pipefish is one of them. The broadnosed pipefish is called särmäneula (edge needle, neula = needle) in Finnish. The “edges” are lengthwise bony plates under the skin, which make fish look “edgy” according to Finnish Wikipedia. Broadnosed pipefish is a marine species that’s tolerant of brackish water.

Broadnosed Pipefish © Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

In the third picture, we see a round goby. It is an invasive species from the Black Sea Area.

The Round Goby © Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

In the second aquarium post, we shall be playing a game inspired by “Spot the lizard!”.

Oh Deer!

This is not a common sight. A single male roe deer, grazing near-ish our house in the middle of the day. He seemed quite unperturbed by a few cars passing the road about 100 m from him. And he was so focused on munching grass that he barely ever raised his head above his shoulders, so I mostly got pictures of his ass.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Argiope bruennichi (Wasp Spider) – Belly

This is very probably the same individual, it is not like these spiders are very common here. This time she has build a web near the front door to our house and she was there for two days. She has caught one caterpillar but nothing else, so after two days she packed up her ropes and went somewhere else. But on the second day, she was on the web with her back towards the wall and her belly towards me, so I could take a picture. See below the fold.

I had the species identification confirmed by an actual spider scientist.

[Read more…]

Sunflower Residence – Some Green Fly

This one is very green and very hairy. I do love the metallic sheen. It would be lovely if that kind of color could be replicated on a real metal surface, especially if that surface were steel. But it can’t.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Midsummer Afternoon – Part 1 – Visit to Harakka Island

Guest posts by Ice Swimmer


It was a hot afternoon just after Midsummer. I went to downtown Helsinki to take some photos.

In the first photo, you can see a jackdaw walking at the Market Square tram stop. I took the picture while waiting for the tram.

A jackdaw walks by © Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

The second photo is an “aerial photo” of a family of mute swans, two adults,

and five little cygnets. I’m on the shore end of the pier, from which the boat to Harakka picks up passengers.

I think the leftmost cygnet has some Cladophora around the base of the neck, at least I’m hoping it’s that and not plastic (I noticed the green stuff when looking at the edited photo). The green algae, which has a Finnish name ahdinparta, beard (parta) of the old Finnish god of the sea Ahti, is rather ubiquitous in shallow waters here and there’s a lot of it on the underwater stones in the picture.

Swan family dinner. © Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

I took the boat to Harakka. The digitalis was in bloom and there were wild strawberries. It could be that when the Imperial Russian army was using the island before Finnish independence, they planted strawberries and other berries, as I’ve heard stories that it was their way to prevent the soldiers in fortress islands from having scurvy.

Digitalis and strategical strawberries.  © Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

This red-leaved rose was growing in a forested area on Harakka. I like how simple and unpretentious it looks.

Red-leaved rose with green leaves. © Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Most of Harakka is ruled by dinosaurs in the summer. This gull seemed to be above any ergonomic considerations.

Common gull forming an animal puddle. © Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

My visit to Harakka was cut a bit short by the low battery charge level of my phone. I had neglected to take an emergency charger (“sähköpossu”/”electricity piggybank” as I like to call them) with me.

Having come back to the mainland from Harakka, I saw these crows on a sign (warning about the underwater cable AFAIR) on the pier. They were “singing”. There’s a Finnish saying “Äänellään se variskin laulaa.”, which could be translated as: “Even the crow will sing with its own voice.”

Crows singing with their own voices. © Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

I did take more than these pictures on Harakka and there could be material for further posts.

Women Artisans on YouTube – Woodworker – Ashley Harwood

I haven’t watched any other of her videos yet, and I must say that I do not like her choice of accompanying music very much*, but her handiwork is beautiful.

  • I do in fact enjoy woodturning videos most when they only have the sound of the lathe and the chisel crunching the wood. I do not know why.

Bumblebee Ride

Avalus had a little run-in with a bumblebee and was so kind to take pictures.


I was walking from the bus stop to work and saw this bumblebee, just sitting on a vetch leaf. I got my cam out and began photographing. The bee was stumbling around and looked kinda lost.

© Avalus, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

And then she leaped at the camera and started crawling on my hand, eagerly searching. (These pics were taken with my phone).

© Avalus, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Avalus, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Avalus, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

She was not extending and waving with a middle leg, which is usually a sign for „please mind your distance, thank you or I’ll sting you“, so I carefully juggled her onto my left hand and took her to the nearest batch of flowers. These were of some crownvetch (Securigera varia) and regular bees were bustling around. My passenger-bee was at first not interested, only noticing the flowers as I moved her head directly in front of it.

© Avalus, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Avalus, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

She then tried drinking nectar but she was too clumsy and just pierced through the flower with her tongue. Irritated, she crawled a bit over the flower, but always kept a leg on my finger.

© Avalus, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Avalus, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

You can see the tip of her tongue, sticking out of the back of the flower.

Then she lost interest, crawled back, and just sat at my hand.

© Avalus, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

My original plan then was to take her to my office and get her a drop or two of freshly made sugar water to nurse her to strength and then put her back in the field I found her in. But underway I found a thistle with many freshly opened flowers that were at ground level (It looked like the plant was crushed by a car in the past but went on to grow anyway, but the flowers were all within 2 cm of the ground). This looked like a suitable spot for my shaky passenger, so I offered her a place in a thistle flower which she took up immediately, thrusting her tongue deep in. I stayed for a few minutes and observed her, as she drank, she stopped the shaking so I think she got all right.

© Avalus, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Avalus, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

So good luck, big bumblebee!

I like bumblebees, they are co-cute.

Tiny Spider Eating Tiny Prey

This tiny little jumping spider was munching on a fly on my house’s wall, nearly in the same spot where I took a picture of a wasp spider a few days ago. Unfortunately, these little buggers are at the very limit of what I can photograph free hand and I did not dare to go for a tripod/monopod because it would probably bugger off.

Pictures below the fold. [Read more…]

Argiope bruennichi (Wasp Spider)

This species is not native where I live, it migrated all the way here from the Mediterranean late in the 20th century. I have never expected to see it in my garden since it still requires a generally warmer climate than what used to be normal here. I guess we can chalk that up to global warming – and this year’s summer was uncharacteristically humid and cold, almost like it used to be when I was a kid.

Pictures below the fold, beware of an intimidating and beautiful spider. This specimen is not particularly big – the abdomen is just about 7-8 mm in length.  Maybe she is not fully grown yet. [Read more…]