Tuesday 29 March 2022

The European Nature Almanack - April 2022


April is the bonanza month for naturalists in Europe. Everything really starts to happen this month in the northern latitudes, whilst down south, Spring is in full swing. It's impossible to pick out any one item on which to focus, so this month we're going to zoom in on relationships.

As the flowers start to bloom, so the insects emerge. 88% of flowering plant species are pollinated by insects, which includes three quarters of our food crop species. So, this month's first photographic theme is #InsectPollination. Here, a Marmalade Hoverfly is busy pollinating an ox-eye daisy.

Flies are major pollinators, coming second only to bees, a fact that this Pink Crab Spider is taking full advantage of. Pink? That's its neutral colour. Crab spiders have the ability to change colour to match their backgrounds. It takes a while but it's very effective. This one has matched the yellow of the crown daisy perfectly and nabbed itself an unsuspecting Parasite Fly. #Predation, in all its forms, is the second photographic theme for the month.

With food in such abundance, it is the perfect time to start the mating game. Courtship rituals are fascinating to watch, so take the time to stop and observe the species that you are photographing this month. Your time will be well rewarded. Photographic (and video) theme number 3 is #Courtship.

After courtship comes copulation. I caught these two Tiger Beetles mating in Crete, and used it as the cover for my book, The Quick Guide to Creepy-Crawlies (if you haven't got yours yet, then you'll find it at its most useful this month, when there's so much going on). #Copulation is our fourth and final theme for the month. Send your photos and videos, with hashtag and location, to any of the following:

Steve's Wild Kitchen 


With so much to forage this month, I thought I'd look into a question that's been puzzling me for some time. What's the difference between oregano and marjoram?

The store bought Oregano in your kitchen is Origanum vulgare. This is also known as Wild Marjoram, not to be confused with Sweet Marjoram which is Origanum majorana which is also known as Knotted Marjoram or Pot Marjoram.

Pot Marjoram is also the name given to Cretan Oregano which is a different species, Origanum onites. Hardy Marjoram AKA French/Italian/Sicilian Marjoram is a cross between O. vulgare and O.majorana.

Spanish Oregano, Thymbra capitata and Mexican Oregano, Poliomintha spp. are from the same family but not in the same genus, so they are not true oregano. The famous Cretan Dittany is however, despite not having oregano in its name. It is Origanum dictamus.

Hope that clears up the confusion!

Steve's Books

Chubby's Crematorium & Burger Bar

A book of humorous poems to cheer, amuse and entertain your friends with.

The Quick Guide to Creepy-Crawlies

All you need to know to identify any type of insect, spider, worm or snail very simply and find out more about it.

The Eggs of Saramova

A science fiction novella for those who don't like science fiction. A fast-paced thriller that is, literally, out of this world (and it starts right here in Crete).

Not Just For Twisted Women

A light-hearted look at life through the eyes of the fairer sex.

See sample pages of all my books and keep abreast of latest publications here:


All of the nature books featured on my posts are now available to view, by category, on one page: Build Your Own Nature Library

Build Your Own Nature Library

Enjoy the Spring

All the best,


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