Saturday, 14 October 2017

Annual Visit to Gondwanaland... at Marks Hall, Essex

This Gondwanaland sign always brings a wry smile to my face...
There were plenty of ladybirds about on Saturday, including this one who was tucked up in advance of over-wintering.

The shepeherd's hut is in a sorry state. We thought a colony of Hornets had moved in, but did not go too close to investigate!

Autumn colour... on a rather grey October afternoon.

Lots of ?duckweed: presumably not such a good feature...

A few Fox-and-Cubs strands added a burst of autumn colour to the bank of the stream...

... and a couple of peacocks added a bright burst of their own.

There were several ladybirds, largely Harlequin varieties, around the memorial site...

Most of the Fly agaric toadstools had been nibbled by wildlife.   N.B. It is *POISONOUS* for humans.

Autumn colour, the reason for our visit...

... and more seasonal splashes.

The croc by the stream reminded me of its more colourful 'rock' cousin on Great Cumbrae in Scotland - here.

Having walked past this hut before in the woods, it suddenly occurred to me yesterday that it is an air-raid shelter.

I'm more of a spring bunny than an autumn crocus, but I do love the bright colours of the season.

A dash of red (there were holly berries, too)

Speaking of Autumn crocus...
No spring bunnies here, but it seemed strange to see primroses in mid-October. We always looked for early daffodils in South Wales in late November.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Heron on the Roof

We have often seen Grey Herons flying over the rooftops to reach the stream that runs through the Local Nature Reserve just beyond our garden, but this one was a bit closer and was probably after fish in a neighbouring pond. I wonder if it will return...

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

No Barn Owls, but...

Part of the excitement of wildlife watching is that you never quite know who or what will turn up. We headed for a spot where we had seen Barn Owls on several occasions in the past, but on this particular afternoon (last Sunday), there were none about. We did however catch an unexpected glimpse of a Little Owl from the car window, but it had flown by the time I could click my camera. Just as we turned for home we noticed this Kestrel on an iron fence. Suffolk is full of surprises!

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Kingfisher Watching - A Walk in the Park

I recall the thrill of seeing my first Bittern from the Bittern Hide (where else?) at RSPB Minsmere. It somehow seemed that bit too good to be true. Then we saw Adders on the Minsmere Adder Trail...

Well, last weekend we paid a quick visit to Holywells Park in Ipswich, and there in the watercourse, by a sign illustrated with a Kingfisher was... a Kingfisher! It was a fairly elusive bird, but as you see, we managed to get a few record shots. I hope we can return with more time. My thanks to David for his photo immediately below. 

There were other creatures about, including the Mandarin duck in the next photo. The stark contrast between light and shade reminded us that we are past the equinox, and already in the season of shorter hours of daylight.

Out in the open at the top of the park there was some real warmth in the sunshine. My eyes alighted on this fluffy mass...

I guess it may be a spider nest, or cocoon, perhaps belonging to a species like the Golden Orb Weaver.

If my hunch is correct (and I have yet to test it out on iSpot), the spiderlings will eventaully disperse by the method known as 'ballooning'. 

It was good to see a fair number of bees about on the colourful plants. 


This is the recently renovated Orangery...

These reflections are largely green, but it will not be long before the colours turn to those fiery shades of autumn (or those misty, mellow ones if you prefer the description offered by Keats...). 

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Butterfly and Moth Larvae... My Photos

Those of you who have visited my blog recently will know that I have been collating my photos of butterflies and moths. Today I am turning my attention to their larvae, beginning with the larvae of MOTHS...

Emperor Moth (Saturnia pavonia) larva, I'm guessing 5th instar, Dunwich Heath, Suffolk,
Mullein moth larva, RSPB Wildlife Garden, Flatford, Suffolk, 2017

Above and below: Drinker moth (Euthrix potatoria) larva, Flatford, Suffolk, 2016

Buff Ermine (Spilosoma lutea) larva

Knot Grass (Acronicta rumicis) larva, St Columba's inland island (photo here),
Snizort River on Skye, 2010

Fox Moth (Macrthylacia rubi)
early instar larva on Raasay, Inner Hebrides, Sept. 2009

Tent of Brown-tail (Euproctis Chrysorrhoea) moth larvae, Spurn peninsula, April 2009
More Brown tail larvae, RSPB Holme Dunes, Norfolk, 2017


Moving on to the larvae of DAY-FLYING MOTHS

6-spot Burnet (Zygaena Filipendulae), Mwnt, Pembrokeshire

Cinnabar moth (Tyria jacobaeae) larva, Snape, Suffolk

Cinnabar moth larvae on (stripped) Ragwort, Snape, Suffolk

* * *

The larvae of BUTTERFLIES

Swallowtail (Papilio machaon britannicus) larva, Norfolk

Swallowtail, devouring Milk Parsley, Norfolk

Swallowtail larva, Norfolk

Swallowtail larva, Norfolk

Swallowtail on Milk Parsley umbels

I'm guessing this is a first instar Swallowtail larva, Norfolk

Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae) larvae, WWT Welney, Norfolk, 2016

Peacock (Aglais io) larva, RSPB Minsmere, 2016

Large White (Pieris brassicae) larvae, RSPB Flatford Wildlife Garden, Suffolk

Large White larvae, NT Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk

This is not a very scientific post, I'm afraid, but I wanted to group my photos together. I hope it shows something of the diversity in terms of colour, hairiness and shape of a small selection of our UK lepidoptera larvae. As ever, if you spot an error, please feel free to drop a line in the Comments section...