Thursday, 20 July 2017

More Butterflies...

Butterflies here in Suffolk seem to be taking advantage of the warm spells in between the wind and rain. We found a sheltered bramble bush and, as you can see, were able to enjoy these Gatekeepers. I am halfway through In Pursuit of Butterflies by Matthew Oates, and am on a fast learning curve. I am thoroughly enjoying all his literary allusions, too. 

Monday, 17 July 2017

First for me: White-letter Hairstreak Butterfly

We came back from the north a few days ago and have needed to attend to various matters (including a poetry reading) since our return. Despite the wild weather we encountered, I am looking forward to posting some photos of our holiday in due course.

Meanwhile, I am delighted to say that I believe I may have seen a new butterfly - well, new for me, at any rate. I watched it flutter into the pink Convolvulus flower above, little realising what it was. We were taking part in the Big Butterfly Count, but it was only when I uploaded my photos that I registered the distinctive hairstreak.

To the best of my knowledge I have only ever seen one other hairstreak butterfly and that was the Green Hairstreak: that butterfly was also here in Suffolk. You can read more about the White-letter Hairstreak on the Butterfly Conservation site here. Since this butterfly spends most of its tine in the tree-tops, I guess we were fortunate to see one nectaring almost at ground level. According to the Wildlife Trusts website, these butterflies have declined by 99% in the last quarter of a century: Dutch Elm Disease may be partly to blame as the eggs are deposited on these trees. I shall be reporting this sighting to the Suffolk Wildlife Trust.

Monday, 19 June 2017

My BBC Springwatch SOS Wildflower Trough (5) - Pollinators!

My patience has been rewarded with spring flowers and pollinators. There were a number of bees and Marmalade Hoverflies around the wildflower trough today - a joy to see!

And finally, just to add a bit more color to this post, these last three pictures were taken today and show an insect, probably a bee of some kind, making use of the insect hotels...

We have small swarms of cockchafers around the silver birch for the last few evenings and a few bats. There have been moths in and out of the window.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

More From the RSPB Flatford Wildlife Garden

This was my first 2017 sighting of a (male) Banded Demoiselle.

It was perching above the small pond, while down below...

...two Common Frogs were putting in an appearance.

I am not sure whether this Mayfly was alive or dead. The creature on the left of the leaf is a Ladybird larva: there were several on the willow fronds.


Monday, 12 June 2017

Mullein Moth Larvae in the RSPB Garden, Flatford

There is usually something interesting to see in the RSPB Wildlife Garden at Flatford, and on this occasion it was this eye-catching larva of the Mullein Moth. What a magnificent caterpillar! 

Doesn't it blend in well with the Ox-eye daisies? 

You can see photos of the adult moth here. It is nocturnal and is rarely seen. 

The photo below shows Bridge Cottage on the River Stour in 'Constable Country'. The entrance to the RSPB Wildlife Garden is very close to the far side of the bridge.  

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Butterflies at NT Wicken Fen

We have just returned from a day at NT Wicken Fen, where we were particularly keen to look for butterflies and dragonflies, but I couldn't resist this magnificent cockerel in the grounds of the Fenman's Cottage, which you can see below.

This is the start of the trail... (and as you can see, it was pretty warm, even in the dappled shade)...

 David tried out my pocket field glass on an obliging Skipper...

I particularly like Brimstones, and there were a few of these about...

... and one or two Red Admirals. 

We reckoned this tree was oozing sap or something as there were two flies, the Red Admiral in the photo above and a huge Hornet all in the space of a few centimetres. 

The Brimstones were still there on our way back up the path to the visitors' centre. We also saw one Peacock (which landed on my shirt) and one Holly Blue.

By the early evening, there were plenty of Small Tortoiseshells. I suspect the very warm weather had something to do with this.

It is always a joy to watch the Marsh Harriers, birds that were considered very rare during my teenage years...

 And as for the dragonflies, well, they will have to wait for another post.

Friday, 9 June 2017

My BBC Springwatch SOS Wildflower Trough (4) - First Flowers

I am delighted to report that the first pollinators like the bee above are visiting my wildflower trough.

I have to say, though, that the flowers thus far bare no resemblance (as far as I can tell) to the pictures on the seed box! This charlock/mustard/oilseed rape-like plant is very tall, far too tall to stay upright in the windy conditions. When a stalk topples over, it takes any number of more delicate plants with it, which is a shame, particularly since most of these are barely in bud yet.

There have been a number of these bugs, which, thanks to the kind people on iSpot, I now know is a Cabbage Bug (Eurydema (Eurydema) oleracea).

You can just make out my trough up against the trellis, behind the Begonias and Nasturtiums. Those yellow flowers must be a metre high.