August 15, 2012

A MIDWEEK PUZZLE

night puzzle1

I wonder if anybody knows what this is.

I took its photo after dark.  There were several of them - I counted up to a dozen on consecutive evenings.  They were just below the château walls on Rue des Ramparts and it’s the first time I have noticed them in the village.

 night puzzle2This is not a daytime photo but the same as above taken with the flash switched on.  The thing in the first picture is also in here somewhere.  Can you spot it and what is it ??

24 comments:

  1. Small bugs carrying little lanterns, a.k.a. fire flies ? ;) Martine

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    1. Martine, they were not fire flies.
      I saw them once in Italy.

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  2. Or glow worms, which is the same thing Martine said, but at a different stage of life. Is that it?

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    1. Ken, You're right, they were glow worms.

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  3. We have little glow worms in our garden so just maybe both Ken and Ladybird have the right idea. Diane

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    1. Diane, lucky you having them in your garden.

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  4. Ken and Diane are right. It is a Glow-worm female... in the second picture you can see how she is curled up to expose the glowing sections to be seen from above by the male. This is usually done by hanging onto the grass stem like this... but we have one here that is using the calcaire outside the barn doors to good effect. It is giving her an "extra-glow" factor by reflecting off the white stone.
    She clings to the rock and turns her body sideways, not up!
    And Ken... fireflies are a different 'animal' entirely and we don't get them this far West. Glow-worms have an un-glowing, winged male and an un-winged, glowing female. Fireflies both fly. And both glow.
    They do seem to be having a very good year this year... I saw about twenty when I realised that I hadn't turned off an outside hose tap and staggered down the path in the dark... we've never seen them in this number before either. I was sitting outside watching the Perseids... 3 shooting stars... 20-plus female glow-worms... insects win!!

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    1. Tim, it was the first time I had seen them and it took me a while to work out what they were. My only other experience of similar creatures were the fire flies I saw in Italy when the nights were very very warm. Thanks for the info !!

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  5. We had a lot of fireflies (which are actually beetles) in North Carolina, where I grew up. Actually, we called them "lightning bugs" because their light doesn't just glow but it flashes. The larvae were what we called glow worms. There are many species of luminescent beetles and other insects around the world, apparently, and many of them are called fireflies in different countries. I've seen glow worms here in Saint-Aignan but never fireflies that actually fly and glow or flash.

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    1. Ken, I have never seen them in Derbyshire! Only ever on warm, sunny holidays, so I was pleased to see them in LGP.

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  6. Sigh. Bear's eyes are so poor he didn't see anything. But thanks for the story, nonetheless.

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    1. Bear, that's such a shame. I will try to describe them for you:

      Imagine you are walking your dog along the road at the foot of a medieval château, after dark on a warm summer night. It is just before midnight and the village is quiet and still. The amber glow from a few street lights cast curious but not unfriendly shadows between the ancient cottages and you stop to admire the view across the rooftops of the village. You are completely alone, except for the dog, and an owl hoots but you are not afraid at all. This is your favourite place on earth and you feel happy.

      As your dog stops to sniff something in the grass you look down and see a strange glow. It's yellow and although tiny, really bright, something like those glow sticks that children play with. Trying to work out what it might be you then spot another, then another. Altogether there are about a dozen. You bend down for a closer look and realise they are also moving, very slightly. You look even closer but it is too dark to make them out, all you can see is a number little wiggling glowing blobs against the dark grass.

      Your dog has by now completed her bedtime needs so you hurry back down the hill to your little cottage, the dog pulling on her lead, excited about getting her bedtime biscuits. You are also excited and tell your spouse you have seen something strange up by the château. You pick up a camera and the two of you walk back up for another look.

      The little glowing creatures are still there, wiggling away. It suddenly dawns on both of you that they are, of course, glow-worms. You take a photo, then you turn the flash on and take another.

      With hearts full of joy you take one more look over the village rooftops and stroll back down the hill to your little piece of heaven on earth. Just another first. And another reason to love the place even more.

      I hope this helps.

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  7. Pauline, I have somehow managed to unintentionally delete your comment about glow-worms in Derbyshire. I have no idea how !!

    But thanks for the comment, I am encouraged that you saw them further north and will look out for them.

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    1. I have found your comment in my email so add it here:

      Jean, you might have them in Derbyshire. Contact your local Wildlife Trust. They are present further north at Kippax in Leeds [where Tim and I saw them first, in fact!] They need an area of limestone/chalk grassland with plenty of small snails to feed on.

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  8. Yup, we have them here too. It's always a treat to find that little glow amongst the undergrowth!

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    1. I had never seen them before in our village but I will look out for them always from now on. I remember how thrilled I was the first time I heard the crickets !!

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  9. Hi Jean,
    So the great mystery is solved. SO much info on glow worms in the comments. Very impressive.
    Do drop in at my blog to collect a "few" awards :D.
    Regards,
    Anuja
    http://simple-baking.blogspot.in/2012/08/nutella-filled-bread-rolls-and-awards.html

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    1. Thanks Anuja, I will take a look.

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  10. Jean, I commented about the one using a stone in my reply [above]... well, having pointed out that they like to crawl up grass stems to display their beacon, imagine my surprise just now, as I came over here to the longere, to see one two foot off the ground... on the longere wall!

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    1. Is that a sign of desperation, or just exploration ??!!

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  11. I WOULD have said glow worms,, but I have never seen one!

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    1. There's not much it could otherwise have been, I think.

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  12. you are all deceiving yourselves ! These are triffids.

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