Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Updated Home Patch Species List

We have been up in the north and over in Galloway, enjoying glorious sunshine, so my apologies for the lack of recent postings. Perhaps our most unusual sighting took place on our journey when we stopped at RSPB Fairburn Ings to see the astonishing sight of Spoonbill chicks in their nest. Those with scopes had a better view than we did, but it was, nonetheless, a memorable experience.

Holiday wildlife photos will follow in due course, but for now I am posting an updated version of my home patch species list, 'HP' in my list below standing, of course, for 'home patch'. Dates with a green background are first sightings (in 2017). Dates with an orange background are first sightings (in 2018).

The list began with Lucy Corrander's Tree Following meme in mind. I am continuing it for my own interest, and think I will now omit unidentified creatures. There have, for example, been plenty of unidentified moths over the last two or three years. With identification in mind, I am trying to post more on iSpot this summer.

Avian sightings - unlike the Big Garden Birdwatch, a bird seen clearly from the house or garden counts for my purposes. We have, for example, yet to see a Grey Heron landing in our home patch, but we have had several good sightings of these birds flying over in the direction of the local nature reserve, one road away, and perching on a neighbour's roof. We have often heard the local Tawny Owl, but I am not counting 'birds heard' (unless they are also seen) at present.

  • HPb1   Great Spotted Woodpecker
  • HPb2   Great tit
  • HPb3   Long-tailed Tit
  • HPb4   Blackbird  
  • HPb5   Song Thrush   
  • HPb6   Blue tit 
  • HPb7   Robin
  • HPb8   Magpie 
  • HPb9   Wood Pigeon
  • HPb10 Dunnock  
  • HPb11 Starling 
  • HPb12 Carrion Crow 
  • HPb13 Goldfinch
  • HPb14 Jay 
  • HPb15 Green Woodpecker
  • HPb16 Wren 
  • HPb17 Bullfinch [[19 January 2017] 
  • HPb18 Sparrowhawk
  • HPb19 Mallard
  • HPb20 House Sparrow 
  • HPb21 Chaffinch
  • HPb22 Grey Heron 
  • HPb23 Collared Dove 
  • HPb24 Coal tit
  • HPb25 Redwing [[20 January 2017] 
  • HPb26 Kestrel  [[8 June 2017] 

Mammal sightings
  • HPm1 (?Wood) Mouse
  • HPm2 Bat ... [first 2015 garden sighting 7 May 2015] [Apr/May 2015]  [[22 January 2017] 
  • HPm3 Shrew 
  • HPm4 Grey Squirrel  [Jan/Feb 2016] [Feb/Mar 2016] [Mar/Apr 2016] [Jul/Aug 2016] [2017]
  • HPm5 Stoat
  • HPm6 Hedgehog

Insect sightings
  • HPi1 Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly [March 2014] [[27 February 2017] 
  • HPi2 Buff-tailed Bumblebee [March 2014] [Jan/Feb 2016] [Mar/Apr 2016] [2017]
  • HPi3 Brimstone Butterfly [April 2014]
  • HPi4 7-spot Ladybird [April 2014] [Oct 2014] [Apr/May 2015] [Jul/Aug 2015] [Sept/Oct 2015] [Mar/Apr 2016]
  • HPi5 Skipper Butterfly [July 2014]
  • HPi6 Meadow Brown Butterfly [July 2014] [Jul/Aug 2015]
  • HPi7 Large White Butterfly [July 2014] [Jul/Aug 2016]
  • HPi8 14-spot Yellow Ladybirds [July 2014]
  • HPi9 Small White Butterfly [May 2014] [Apr/May 2015] [Sept/Oct 2015 - caterpillars]
  • HPi10 Orange tip Butterfly [May 2014]
  • HPi11 Harlequin ladybird  [May 2014] [October 2014] [Sept/Oct 2015]
  • HPi12 Garden Chafer (Phyllopertha horticola) [June 2014] [June/July 2016] [18 May 2018]
  • HPi13 Ruby-tail Wasp [June 2014] [May/June 2015] [May/June 2016] [[21 May 2017] 
  • HPi14 Blackfly [June 2014
  • HPi15 Marmalade Hoverfly [July 2014] [Jul/Aug 2015] [Jul/Aug 2016]
  • HPi16 Shield bug [July 2014] [Apr/May 2015]
  • HPi17 Migrant Hawker dragonflies [July 2014]
  • HPi18 Gatekeeper Butterfly [Jul/Aug 2016]
  • HPi19 Comma butterfly [August 2014] [June/July 2016] [2017]
  • HPi20 Red Admiral butterfly [August 2014] [October 2014] [Jul/Aug 2015]
  • HPi21 Peacock butterfly [August 2014] [Jul/Aug 2015] [Nov/Dec 2015] 
  • HPi22 Green bottle flies [August 2014] [May/June 2015]
  • HPi23 Ants [August 2014] [Apr/May 2015]  [May/June 2015] [Jul/Aug 2015] [Sept/Oct 2015 ] [Jun/July 2016] [2017]
  • HPi24 Squashbug aka Dock Bug, (Coreus marginatus ) [August 2014] [May 2018, mating]
  • HPi25 Birch Shieldbug (late instar?) [September 2014]
  • HPi26 Lacewing [October 2014] [Sept/Oct 2015]
  • HPi27 Cereal Leaf Beetle [Apr/May 2015]
  • HPi28 Painted Lady [2018]
  • HPi29 Rosemary Beetle [[Sept/Oct 2015] [May/June 2016 - four] [May 2017]
  • HPi30 Hawthorn Shieldbug [May/June 2015] 
  • HPi31 Forest Shieldbug (Pentatoma rufipes) [Sept/Oct 2015] 
  • HPi32 Early Bumblebee [Mar/Apr 2016] 
  • HPi33 Species of Miridae [Mar/Apr 2016]  
  • HPi34 Cranefly [May/June 2016] 
  • HPi35 Crossocerus, wasps family Crabronidae [May/June 2016] 
  • HPi36 Wasp Beetle (Clytus arietis) [May/June 2016]
  • HPi37 Tree Bumblebee (Bombus (Pyrobombus) hypnorum) [May/June 2016] 
  • HPi38 Moth Least Black Arches (Nola confusalis) [May/June 2016] 
  • HPi39 Holly Blue Butterfly  [[26 May 2017]  
  • HPi40 Dark Bush Cricket (nymph) [[18 May 2017]  
  • HPi41 Common Cockchafer  [[18 May 2017]  
  • HPi42 Scorpion Fly [May2017] [[23 May 2017]  
  • HPi43 Soldier Beetle (Cantharis rustica [2017] [[23 May 2017]    [13 May 2018]
  • HPi44 Cabbage Bug (Eurydema (Eurydema) oleracea)  [2017]  [[9 June 2017]  
  • HPi45 Light Brown Apple moth (Epiphyas postvittana) [2017] [[23 May 2017] 
  • HPi46 Large Red damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula)   [9 May 2018] 
  • HPi47  Common Blue butterfly (Polyommatus icarus  [11 May 2018] 
  • HPi48  Speckled Wood butterfly (Pararge aegeria  [15 May 2018] 
  • HPi49  Ruby Tiger moth (Phragmatobia fuliginosa  [18 May 2018] 
  • HPi50  Mint Moth (Pyrausta aurata  [24 May 2018] 
  • HPi51  Mullein Moth larva (Cucullia verbasci  [14 June 2018] 
  • HPi52  Field Digger Wasp   [14 July 2018]



Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Home Patch - Ladybird, Moth Larva and ?Bee

For some days now I have been keeping an eye on these Blackfly in the hope that they might encourage Ladybirds into the garden. And they did, two to be precise ... and, alas, both Harlequins. The photo immediately above and below are of the same Ladybird as the second one was under a leaf and hard to reach. 

There is a bee of some sort in residence in our insect hotels. It hovers (come to think of it, do bees hover?) in the air when I walk past, but I have yet to get a good look. 

I keep checking for butterflies in the garden: there have been a couple of sprightly blue ones on the wing, too fast for identification purposes; but other than those, butterflies have been noticeable by their absence. There was an early 'spring flurry' of these insects weeks ago when I saw more Brimstones in an afternoon than probably in the rest of my whole life; but what is happening now? I wonder if you saw this article...

On a more positive lepidopteran note, we found a Mullein moth larva on some Buddleia. This is a first for our garden. Of course, the caterpillar would decide to choose the delicate leaves of a rather delicate newly-planted (butterfly-friendly) Buddleia, ignoring the mass of green growth on the established white Buddleia!

Monday, 18 June 2018

Insects in the Grounds of Helmingham Hall

I seem to have been chasing my tail a bit recently, so here are a few pretty pictures of Helmingham Hall and the insects in the grounds. You may have seen the hall on the Antiques Roadshow recently or perhaps on a previous Who do you think you are? programme. I tried to keep a casual eye open for bees on flower heads as we strolled around, particularly in the walled garden. But we saw some other insects, too ...

I think the creature above is a Variable Damselfly and the one below is an immature Large Red.

The moat makes an ideal environment for odonata.

Inside the walled garden we smiled at the topiary rabbits ...

and a frog prince!

It was good to see a few Meadow Browns, my first of the season.

I'm wondering if these were leaf or Flea Beeetles of some variety, possibly Crepidodera aurata

We noticed a couple of Broad-bodied Chasers on the vertical posts.

The next few photos show bees I noticed on the flower heads ...

This bee favoured a beautiful Delphinium.

You can see David here by the knot garden, with this fragrant patch of lavender and old-fashioned roses just in front of him. Despite the grey weather, the scent was one of pure summer!

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Nursery-Web Spiderlings Expected in Home Patch

With the spider's legs in all directions, I had to look twice to see what was going on here; but as soon as I realised I was looking at a spider with her egg-sac, the scene began to make perfect sense. You can read more about these arachnids here. We have had these spiders in the garden before, but this is my first sighting of the egg-sac.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Dragons, Damsels, Moths and Butterflies at RSPB Minsmere

We spent a few hours at RSPB Minsmere over the weekend, where there were some wonderful dragonflies flying about in the sunshine. This is a female Black-tailed Skimmer, not a species I have often seen before.

It was a magnificent insect, as you can see. The adult male has a blue abdomen.

There were a number of Four-spotted Chasers on the brambles ...

... and on the reeds.

The one above is a female.

We encountered a couple of Cinnabar moths, one on the ground on the path to the sea and the other on the wing above the Adder Trail. Such lovely insects!

We also noticed this tiny Cinnabar larva on a stalk of Ragwort which, I guess, had failed to thrive (or could it be a moulted skin?).

I'm not entirely sure, but think this may be a Variable Damselfly. As ever, please feel free to correct me!

We stopped by the bridge on our way home as we have sometimes seen Demoiselles here. There did not appear to be any...

... but the Yellow Waterlilies were wonderful.

This was the view from Whin Hill, high (by Suffolk standards) above the Island Mere hide. The remains of the old BBC Springwatch cabin are just off the photo to the left. 

This was where we found the first Cinnabar moth.

We also saw a couple of tiny Small Heath butterflies ...

out in the sunshine.

We had been told by the staff on the desk that it was probably too warm for reptile sightings, but the insects seemed to be basking in the heat.


It has been a busy week and I'm sorry it has taken so long to post these pics! Enjoy the weekend ...