Anna and I have just spent a long weekend in Shrewsbury with her parents, checking out a possible wedding venue, and then a day or so in the Cotswolds, with some of my relatives, in Kemerton.
I'll make a few posts about what we saw during these three days (fri,sat and sun just gone).
The first regards a ladybird which WAS considered relatively rare a few years ago, and an indicator of ancient woodland. This is the "Orange Ladybird" (or 16-spotted Ladybird).
I was trimming the top of Anna's parents high hedge, where some Ash had sprouted (I'm useful for the odd thing you know!) and Anna was clearing up the branches I'd cut.
It was Anna who found this Ladybird on one of the Ash branches I'd snipped off the hedge.
At first glance, this looks like a "Cream-Spotted Ladybird", but this is more brick-red in colour, and normally has 14 spots, arranged in tight arcs.
Our Ladybird was much more orange, with 16 spots, and after a little research in my Aunt's insect book in the Cotswolds the day after, and a little research in MY insect book today and also the web, our Ladybird (or Anna's ma's Ladybird, strictly speaking) was indeed an Orange Ladybird - which is increasing its numbers dramatically at present, and is very often found on Ash and Sycamore.
A very nice Ladybird indeed - but as yet, we haven't found it at OUR house. Probably something to do with the fact that there is no Ash or Sycamore nearby - just Lime!
When identifying THIS ladybird, look for the translucent orange colour, 16 spots and black eyes...