I can still remember the very first time I saw a Wasp Spider. It was around 25 years ago at the top of Charleston Bottom on the edge of Friston Forest when Pen and I had taken our 2 young lads for a walk there. I then saw them occasionally over following years, although most years I failed in my searches for them.
However, as the years went on it has become clear that Wasp Spiders were becoming gradually more common. Now though, over the past 4 years, they have become very much more numerous locally. Last year I saw well over 100 of these wonderful creatures. Today was only my 2nd of the year, but in a small area there were large numbers of them. It was actually quite difficult photographing one without disturbing others and their webs nearby.
As the Autumn approaches many more of them will be seen!!
The main prey of these spiders is Grasshoppers, although one today had a Small White and a Common Blue in its web.
Wasp Spider (Argiope bruennichi).
Before seeing the spiders I had seen large numbers of Silver-spotted Skippers on the Downland slopes. Many were females looking to lay eggs on the Sheep Fescue grass. Surprisingly, I had never seen the egg of this species before, so when I spotted a female that appeared to be egg laying I watched very closely, seeing the egg pop out from the end of the abdomen. Then looking through the camera with the macro lens on closest focus I spotted another 4 eggs in very close proximity to the one just laid. These were not as white as the freshly laid one so had been there for longer. For such a small butterfly the eggs were surprisingly large.
Silver-spotted Skipper Egg.
On the subject of butterfly eggs, last week I was on the local patch when I saw a female Wall Brown go into a scrape, obviously looking to lay. When she flew off I had a good look on all the small roots expecting to see an egg. However, I was very surprised to find 2 eggs next to each other that the butterfly had laid on a Thistle seed-head.
Wall Brown eggs on Thistle Seed-head.