Anyone Know What This Bug Is?

Saw this lovely little bug outside just a short while ago sitting on the lavender bush, so iridescent! It’s about the same size as a ladybird. Anyone know what it is?

UPDATE: It appears the little critter is a Rosemary Leaf beetle. And lavender is a favourite food!

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Hello Roma!

There is a rather unsavory back story to this that I am not entirely proud of.

Around about March/April of this year, several new cats arrived on the scene around our street. Two gorgeous grey cats. One a silver tabby – but with very light, swirly marled effects on her fur. The other, a Russian blue with a teddy bear face. They’d hang about our strip of garden in the afternoons and into the evenings during spring and summer. After a short while we gave them nicknames, RB (for Russian Blue) and GT (for Grey Tabby).

At this time I was putting out regular feeds for the foxes we get coming round. One particular fox with a limp, broken, left hind leg (which we imaginatively nicknamed Limpy) was becoming a nightly visitor. I’d put all manner of things out for ‘Limps’, mostly chicken bones, but sometimes cheap scraps of meat, or sausages, or things being sold off cheaply to ASDA, or sometimes jam sandwiches.

Shortly after starting up this routine, another cat appeared on the scene. This time, in the form of a kitten. Whilst I was putting food out for foxes this became a bit of a bane. You see, she would be around at night when I’d put out the fox food and she’d steal some. When putting chicken bones out, this was manifest in both concern and ire. Concern she’d eat bones she shouldn’t, and ire that she’d deplete food for the fox(es).

After a while, to repel her coming, I bought myself a high-power water pistol. When I put out food and saw her coming for it, I’d fire it at her. It didn’t work that successfully, only in so much as deterring her when she was fired on, and making her scared of me.

I thought of her purely as a pest, a bane, and I had nicknamed her f*ckface. This I am NOT proud of.

I just assumed she was owned. I just thought she had one of these ‘laissez-faire’ owners. You know the type I mean. One where a cat is just something that you just get and have outside to prey on all the small birds in your garden and use your flowerbeds as a litter tray. I think the word is, erm..irresponsible? Yeah, that’s it!

As the months wore away it was becoming obvious that the owner was either particularly ‘laissez-faire’, or, despite what we first thought, she actually was NOT owned. Or had been, and got lost. She was outside ALL the time. Day and night – particularly at night. Again, denoting irresponsible cat ownership.

As the summer went on, I fed the foxes less. There was less evidence of them coming around, so I pulled back on leaving food out, and I was getting tired of the ‘battle’ I was having with ****face when putting the food out. In the past 6-8 weeks I haven’t really put much out at all.

Em feeds the hedgehogs on a nightly basis, but it gets put into a covered box which only they (and other small animals – if they chose) can access. But as Em would go out to feed the hedgehogs, she’d have an ‘audience’. Primarily in the forms of RB and ****face. The latter would be particularly vocal about wanting food – having finally found her voice to meow and not run off at first sight of seeing Em coming out the door.

We are now about 2 weeks into a complete U-turn on my feelings for, who we now call, Roma. It came to me one night, thinking about her. Strange really, as she doesn’t “roam” but has always been here – right by us, right in our garden.

I’ve been thinking sometime now that we should try and catch her and take her to the vet to be scanned to see if she is microchipped. But we cannot get near her. I have given her too much fear of us by having tried to warn AND ward her off in the past. We are trying to rebuild the trust. She is now semi-feral. I think due to never actually being owned (or owned for a short time as a kitten, but getting lost).

We have also taken to feeding her regularly now. She seems endlessly hungry. She has a gaping pit of a stomach. But she would do if she’s been out having to defend herself for the past six months. I suspect she has worms, which we will treat as soon as we can by buying worming granules we can add to the food we feed her.

We can’t have her indoors, as our own cat Chrissy would just NOT allow it to happen. So we are caring for her as best we can. feeding her, giving her warm bedding to sleep in/on at night (spraying it with flea treatment to help ward off any fleas she may have – we’ll try to give her internal flea treatment too ASAP), and just hoping over time we may win her trust enough to perhaps see if she’s owned. But there is a little part of me that thinks, frankly, if you can let a kitten out to fend for itself, it goes missing and you can’t even be bothered to try and find it (Em has kept an eye on the local notice boards for missing cats, and one like Roma has never appeared), then well, perhaps we can do a better job!

So, here we are, sort of a two cat ‘family’. Meet Roma…

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Zoo Days

On Tuesday we went to Whipsnade zoo. The first visit in around 5 years.

We arrived shortly after 10 and were there in time for the first display of the day, the lemur feed. There’s a little bridge connecting where the lemurs spend their days with the area that the keepers use for the feeding display. While all us visitors stand on the bridge, the lemurs bound over for their feed. It was a fun little display and I learned things about lemurs I didn’t know.

(The keeper caught midway through explaining why all the lemurs at the zoo are males)

There was a chimp chat afterwards but we decided against that as there was a group of teenage boys on a school trip there and they headed off for the chimp chat, and we were trying to evade them. Instead we headed for the “Birds of the World” display that would be happening in some 45 minutes time. We meandered about, got psyched out by a VERY protective mara mother of her young bub, caught up with the school boys (shit!) and just generally hung about.

"You looking at me?"

The keepers were late with the bird display as they’d been in Dunstable looking for their missing stork which had flown out of the zoo grounds the previous day. As a result we had a shortened display – they needed to continue their search for the stork as their morning search had not resulted in a find, and this day was VERY windy as well, and the birds they DID display weren’t coping well with the winds. We were shown a tucan, a harrier hawk, two scarlet macaws and one military macaw (who was too scared of going MIA to fly). The scarlet macaws are just SOOOO colourful! And the harrier hawk was just gorgeous. Despite the winds Taltos gave us a wonderful display.

After that we went to the sea lion splash and saw the display by Lara and Bailey. Bailey wasn’t really wanting to perform as she should do and then Lara joined in later on, but they are such lovely creatures and sooo mischievous, you can’t not love them!

After that it was a general wander. We went and saw the tigers, which was quite sad really. Ana, the female tiger, had free range of the whole enclosure but appeared to be waiting for food whilst Mickhail, the HUGE male, was in a small compound having just been given a nice juicy slab of meat to eat (I must say, he didn’t seem that enamoured with it – whilst Ana was salivating away like Pavlov’s dog). After eating the meat, Mickhail just paced, whilst Ana, resigned to the fact that she wasn’t going to get a look-in on the food front went and laid down on the lawn in the middle of the den.

Teddy on the menu?

Nom nom nom. Something looks good says Ana.

From there we went and saw the Asian rhinos, the onagers (which I kept referring to as Oligarchs and giving them Russian accents. Lol), gaur and sloth bears (which was another sad sight as one bear seemed quite institutionalised because although it had access to the whole of its range, it was pacing against the caged wall of the space adjacent to an enclosure).

Asian rhinos drying off after a mud bath.

We then caught the bus to do a loop of the whole zoo before coming back round to stop off in time for the penguin feed before leaving the zoo.

It was doomed from the start. Firstly, we had to change buses after one stop as the bus we joined had banged into something and the upper deck was out of use. Soon after we changed to the other bus I was aware of a wasp being on board – and if you know me you’ll be aware of how my reaction to this would be. I tried to stay calm, and the wasp stayed by the second exit doors, but then it started to fly about and I just WASN’T having it! Thankfully we were approaching a stop – and although it meant I HAD to walk past it, we alighted the bus.

But this took us right back to where we’d joined the bus in the first place. Right back to the opposite end of the zoo. It was 1.45pm and the penguin feed was at 2.30pm. I thought we could make it but we didn’t dilly-dally. Despite this, we didn’t make it. The last time we were at the zoo we missed the penguin feed and I was DETERMINED to see it this time. We walked all the way back round and got as far as the zoo entrance before being resigned to not going to make it. It was nearly 2.30pm by the time we got back to the zoo entrance and it would have been another 10-15 mins walk to get to the penguins. I was EXHAUSTED by this time (we both were), so decided to call it a day 😦

THANK YO WASP! More reasons to why I hate these creatures.

So the visit ended on a bit of an anti-climax sadly. We got some good pics from the bus on the way round and we saw Spike, the male lion, with his harem of ladies far on the hill. He was, literally, king of the hill!

Spike and his harem of lovelies.

You can see more photos by going to my Picasa page HERE

All the videos are available to view on a YouTube playlist HERE

Bee Nightmare.

It was that time of year again for another awfully realistic bee nightmare.

Again (as it usually is with my bee nightmares), I was in Australia with my mum.

One bee flew directly at me and ended up caught in the end corner of my right eye. I was in absolute hysteria! It got caught right at the point I was closing my eye, so it was wedged in my eyelid but hadn’t stung me yet. My mum kept saying to me “try and to open your eye! I need you to open your eye so I can try and get hold if it!

But I couldn’t open my eye. I was SO petrified that if I opened my eye, it would sting my eye ball.

At this point in the nightmare, as if I didn’t have enough to contend with, a second bee decided to fly into my right ear.

The combination of the two frightened me so much, that I woke up…

I woke up with the feeling of a bee caught in my eye and in my ear. It was absolutely awful. And just recounting it is giving me heart palpitations and making me want to be sick.

I’m NEVER going to get over my apiphobia.

Hog Roll (a hog gets rolled)

One hedgehog, pee’d off at the sight of another hedgehog comes along and nudges it and rolls the hog over – SEVERAL times! Amazing behaviour.

hogroll.mp4
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Fox Cam footage.

Footage from early this morning of a fox in the garden. Sharing the food with a cat, no less. S/he gets a little spooked by the cat towards the end which is a bit funny.

09-06-2011Foxcam.mp4
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Hog Cam Video

Footage from last night (Wed 8th June) of THREE hogs in the garden 🙂

08-06-2011_Hog1.mp4
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