Having posted a hawthorn shieldbug yesterday, and talked about the difference between that and the birch shieldbug, I was pleased to find this little chap down in the wild garden this morning – especially as I hadn’t seen one for a couple of weeks, and I’d started to think they’d all gone to ground. This isn’t as clear a photo as yesterday’s, because the light then was very flat and this morning we had dazzling, contrasty sunshine (after a night of heavy rain), but if you flick back and forth between the two posts I think you’ll see that the birch shieldbug here is rounder, with less angled ‘shoulders’, and overall it gives the impression of being darker. It’s also smaller, at between 8 and 12mm in length – this one was towards the lower end of that range, so possibly a male.

I was keen to get my mini-beast safari out of the way early today because we were expecting visitors: L and Baby B have come to stay for the weekend, leaving G at home to complete a work project in peace. The Boy wasn’t entirely sure about this visit, possibly because as a lockdown baby whose parents both work mainly at home, he’s not used to being separated from either one of them for any length of time. Or maybe he was teething – his gums certainly seemed to be bothering him at times, and given the chance he was quite keen to chew my finger with the very sharp teeth he already has. Either way, we had a sticky patch in the middle of the afternoon, but he cheered up by dinner time, ate quite a lot of kedgeree, and had all the grown-ups in fits with his antics and jokes.

Grandma J, as you may have noticed, is feeling blessed.