Thursday, 16 June 2022

Garden Sightings

 

We were so pleased to see that this beautiful Hummingbird Hawkmoth had found a clump of self-seeded Valerian in our wild garden. It is only the second we have seen here since we moved in a decade ago. And speaking of moving in ...

I am so thrilled to see a bee investigating our new (for 2022) bee house. Our old bee houses have been taken over by ants.



 

Saturday, 4 June 2022

Butterflies and More at Hollesley Marshes


We decided to explore a section of the sea-wall at Hollesley Marshes, a small section of the Suffolk coast that was new to us. It was a very blustery afternoon, but dry and not very cold. To our surprise we found a good range of lepidoptera, a dragonfly and quite a few blue damselflies (which I have yet to check). 

Butterflies seen:

  1. Speckled Wood (above)
  2. Painted Lady 
  3. Red Admiral
  4. Large Skipper (our first of the season)
  5. Green Hairstreak
  6. Small Tortoiseshell
  7. Green-veined White
  8. Speckled Wood

Moth:

  1. (A rather tatty) Yellow Shell

Dragonfly: 

  1. Hairy Dragonfly

The area contains an inland RSPB reserve and also the coastal and estuarine reserve of Simpson's Saltings, run by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust. The next two photos show a couple of meres in the RSPB part of the site.


The photo below shows a larger wetland area on the landward side of the sea-wall. We saw a range of waterbirds here; Shoveler, Shelduck, Avocet, Mute Swan, Redshank, Lapwing and more.

I was very taken with this secluded bay in the Simpson's Saltings area. The wide estuary beyond is part of the river; the shore is reserved for wildlife so we admired it from the bank.


Shoveler on one of the landward meres

 

The next photo shows David on the sea-wall. The strong wind was responsible for all those white horses beyond.



Green Hairstreak


Red Admiral (and below)

The red arrow shows the saltings on the Alde-Ore estuary site

A very tattered Yellow Shell moth


Large Skipper butterfly


Hairy Dragonfly

You can see the hairy thorax below the eyes

wildflowers; the poppies were stunning

Small Toroiseshell


A drift of Thrift

A wasp, as yet unidentified, probably collecting slivers of wood

 

Green-veined White

Damselfly season kicking off apace!


Thursday, 2 June 2022

Cocoon and Casing



A few days ago David and I discovered a stretch of heathland on Hollesley Common in Suffolk that we had yet to explore. We came across this extraordinary 'sac' on a clump of gorse, and wondered what it might be. It seemed more 'animal' than 'vegetable', so to speak. Had it been made by a spider or a sand-wasp? 

I posted a couple of photos on the iSpot site, and it wasn't long before the mystery was solved ... it's the cocoon of a moth I have been longing to see, the Emperor (Saturnia pavonia). I imagine the second part of its name, pavonia, refers to the peacock-like eye markings on the adult's wing.   

We returned to the spot this afternoon in glorious sunshine. The cocooon was looking rather bleached, but we were able to put David's measuring card alongside it; each black or white square is 1cm, so you can see it is about 3cm in length. 



* * *

I have been fascinated for a couple of years now by the 'Bagworm' and particularly by the casings these Common Sweep  (Psyche casta) moths leave on our brickwork or on our flowers. Usually all I have seen are the casings, but this week I actually saw the larva for the first time, as shown in the two photos immediately below. 

Nature certainly comes in all shapes and sizes! 





 

Saturday, 28 May 2022

Damsels, Dragons and Painted Ladies at Helmingham Hall

 


We visited the gardens at Helmingham Hall last weekend in the hope that we might be some early 'dragons' or 'damsels' around the moat. As you can see, the walled garden was looking very beautiful. 




We were thrilled to see our first Painted Ladies of the season, and since then we have had one in the garden at home. 



And yes! There were damselflies, many of them Large Reds like the one in the photo. 



We saw a couple of these Broad-bodied Chasers. The males are blue, but females and immature ones are a shimmering gold. 

Monday, 23 May 2022

Updated Home Patch List, May 2022

 


I have been keeping a list of the wildlife I see in our suburban Suffolk garden since 2014. For a creature to be counted, it must be seen in, under or above our boundary. Two years year I began to keep an eye on the wildflowers that we noticed in the garden. I may decide to combine the two lists in due course.

* = an identification given via iSpot. 

[R] = a regular visitor

[O] = an occasional one. 

 

Incidentally, the Migrant Hawker sightings in the list below inspired one of the poems in my 2021 poetry collection, Driftwood by Starlight, which is is now available in the online shop for The Seventh Quarry Press. Do take a look here

And now to my updated list...


Avian sightings

  • HPb1   Great Spotted Woodpecker [O]  [early March, June, Aug 2020]early Mar., 17 June 2021, 17 April 2022
  • HPb2   Great tit [R] 202020212022
  • HPb3   Long-tailed tit [R] 202020212022
  • HPb4   Blackbird [R] 20202021, with young2022
  • HPb5   Song Thrush  [27 April 2019 - a pair] [27 March 2020]
  • HPb6   Blue tit [R] 20202021, with young2022
  • HPb7   Robin  [R]  20202021, with young2022
  • HPb8   Magpie [R] 202020212022
  • HPb9   Wood Pigeon  [R] 202020212022
  • HPb10 Dunnock [R] 202020212022
  • HPb11 Starling [R] 20202021, with young2022
  • HPb12 Carrion Crow [R] 202020212022
  • HPb13 Goldfinch [R] 20202021, with young2022
  • HPb14 Jay [O] 2020  Mar. 2021 (two)
  • HPb15 Green Woodpecker [O] seen in passing [May 2020]
  • HPb16 Wren [O] [27 March 2020]20212022
  • HPb17 Bullfinch [19 January 2017] 2020
  • HPb18 Sparrowhawk [June 2020] [25 Feb 2021]2022
  • HPb19 Mallard 
  • HPb20 House Sparrow [1 June 2019] [June 2020] Mar. 2021 several2022
  • HPb21 Chaffinch 2020 Mar. 2021
  • HPb22 Grey Heron [18 and 26 Feb 2020] early May 20212022
  • HPb23 Collared Dove [R] 2020 2021
  • HPb24 Coal tit 20212022
  • HPb25 Redwing [20 January 2017] Feb 20212022
  • HPb26 Kestrel  [8 June 2017] 4 June 2021  
  • HPb27 Blackcap [Feb 2020] 28 Feb, 7 Mar 2021 18 Apr 2022
  • HPb28 Greenfinch [6 Feb 2020]
  • HPb29 Swift [15 July 2020]16 June 2021
  • HPb30 Buzzard [Sept 2020] 16 June 20212022
  • HPb31 Fieldfares [a flock, garden first, February 2021]
  • HPb32 Common Gull Mar. 2021
  • HPb33 RedKite 2022
  • Cuckoo - not listed as such because it just missed our garden, but for only the second time since we moved here nearly a decade ago, I not only heard one calling but also caught sight of it. [2 June 2021]

 

Mammal sightings

  • HPm1 (?Wood) Mouse Mar. 2021
  • HPm2 Bat ... [1st 2015 sighting 7 May 2015] [Apr/May 2015]  [22 Jan 2017]  [Aug 2018]  [8 Aug 2019] [May, 17, 25 July 2020] 18 May, 15 June, 26 Aug 2021
  • HPm3 Shrew 
  • HPm4 Grey Squirrel [R] and now [O] 2020 15 Mar, Aug 20212022
  • HPm5 Stoat
  • HPm6 Hedgehog  [9 Aug 2018] [1 June 2019]


Amphibian sightings

  • HPam1 Common Frog [26 May 2019] 


Reptile sightings

  • HPr1 Common Lizard (two: new species for the garden!) [1, 8 August 2020]


Insect sightings 

  • HPi1 Small Tortoiseshell butterfly [March 2014] [27 Feb 2017] three, Aug 2021
  • HPi2 Buff-tailed Bumblebee [March 2014] [Jan/Feb 2016] [Mar/Apr 2016] [2017] 202020212022
  • HPi3 Brimstone butterfly [April 2014] [5 June 2019] 202020212022
  • HPi4 7-spot Ladybird [April 2014] [Oct 2014] [2015] [Jul/Aug 2015] [Sept/Oct 2015] [Mar/Apr 2016] 202020212022
  • HPi5 Small Skipper butterfly [July 2014] [26 July 2019] [20,21 June 2020]2021
  • HPi6 Meadow Brown butterfly [July 2014] [Jul/Aug 2015] [12 June 2020, six!]2021
  • HPi7 Large White butterfly [July 2014] [Jul/Aug 2016] [21 June 2020]7 June 20212022
  • HPi8 14-spot Yellow Ladybirds [July 2014] [May 2019] [1 July 2020]
  • HPi9 Small White butterfly [May 2014] [Apr/May 2015] [Sept/Oct 2015 - larvae] [2 May 2019] 202020212022
  • HPi10 Orange tip butterfly [May 2014] 2020 11 May 2021April 2022
  • HPi11 Harlequin ladybird  [May 2014] [October 2014] [Sept/Oct 2015] [1 April 2019, N.B. spotless] 
  • 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]  [May 2020]
  • HPi14 Blackfly [R]  20202022
  • HPi15 Marmalade Hoverfly [July 2014] [Jul/Aug 2015] [Jul/Aug 2016] [20 June 2020]
  • HPi16 Gorse Shield bug [27 March 2020] New!
  • HPi17 Migrant Hawker dragonflies [July 2014]2021
  • HPi18 Gatekeeper butterfly [Jul/Aug 2016] [9 Aug 2019] 20202021
  • HPi19 Comma butterfly [August 2014] [June/July 2016] [2017] [8 Aug 2019] 202020212022
  • HPi20 Red Admiral butterfly [August 2014] [October 2014] [Jul/Aug 2015] [8 Aug 2019] [14 June 2020]Aug 2021 16 May 2022
  • HPi21 Peacock butterfly [August 2014] [Jul/Aug 2015] [Nov/Dec 2015] [8 Aug 2019] [27 March 2020] [two on 25 March 202110 Mar 2022
  • HPi22 Green bottle flies [August 2014] [May/June 2015] 20202022
  • HPi23 Ants [R] [27 March 2020]20212022
  • 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]  [14 June 2020]
  • HPi27 Cereal Leaf Beetle [Apr/May 2015]
  • HPi28 Painted Lady [2018] [8 Aug 2019]three, Aug 202127 May 2022
  • 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] 2021
  • HPi33 *Species of Miridae [Mar/Apr 2016]  
  • HPi34 Cranefly [R]  202020212022
  • 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]  [27 April and 6 June 2019] 202026 May 2021 2 May 2022
  • HPi40 Dark Bush Cricket (nymph) [18 May 2017] [10 June 2019] [10 June 2020] 25 May 2022
  • HPi41 Common Cockchafer  [18 May 2017] [14 June 2019] [10 June 2020]5 June 2021
  • HPi42 Scorpion Fly [May2017] [23 May 2017]  8 June 202126 May 2022
  • HPi43 Soldier Beetle (Cantharis rustica)  [2017] [13 May 2018][2019] 20202022
  • 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] 20202021
  • HPi48  Speckled Wood butterfly (Pararge aegeria)   [15 May 2018] 2020 24 May 2021 20 April 2022
  • HPi49  Ruby Tiger moth (Phragmatobia fuliginosa)   [18 May 2018] 2020
  • HPi50  Mint Moth (Pyrausta aurata)   [24 May 2018]  [2019] 202015 June, 27 Aug 20212022
  • HPi51  Mullein Moth larva (Cucullia verbasci)   [14 June 2018] 
  • HPi52  Silver Y moth [two - August 2018] 14 July 2020Aug 2021 26 May 2022
  • HPi53  Rove Beetle (Platydracus stercorarius)   [September 2018] 
  • HPi54 *Green Long-horn moth 13 May 2021
  • HPi55 Fire bug nymph [17 April 2019]2022
  • HPi56 Pine Ladybird [1 April 2019]  20202021
  • HPi57 Cinnabar moth [4 and 5 April 2019] [21 June 2020] 
  • HPi58 Small Red Damselfly [20 May 2019]  2020 
  • HPi59 *Tortoise Bug [3 June 2019]   
  • HPi60 *Cryptolaemus montrouzieri [6 June 2019] 
  • HPi61 *Varied Carpet Beetle (Anthrenus (Nathrenus) verbasci)  [6 June 2019] 2020
  • HPi62 *Empis tessellata [31 May 2019] 
  • HPi63 *Macrophya [22 May 2019] 
  • HPi64 *Bagworm moth case (Psychidae) [31 May 2019] 22 May 2022 
  • HPi65 *Greater Bulb-Fly (Merodon equestris) [22 May 2019]  2020
  • HPi66 *Figwort Weevil larva (Cionus scrophulariae) [22 May 2019] 
  • HPi67 *Arge Sawfly (Arge cyanocrocea) [22 May 2019]  2020
  • HPi68 *Sarcophaga [16 May 2019]
  • HPi69 *Juniper Shield Bug (Cyphosthetus tristriatus) [16 May 2019] 
  • HPi70 *St Mark's Fly (Bibio marci) [28 April 2019] 19 May 20212022
  • HPi71 Fairy Longhorn moth (Adela) [9 May 2019] 20212022
  • HPi72 *Dagger Fly (Empis Tessellata) [13 May 2019]  
  • HPi73 *Honey bee (Apis mellifera) [31 May 2019]  202020212022
  • HPi74 *Rutpela maculata [14 June 2019] 
  • HPi75 *Soldier Fly (Stratiomyidae) [12 June 2019] 
  • HPi76 *Small Dusty Wave moth (Idaea seriata) [31 May and 5 Sept 2019]
  • HPi77 *Planthopper (Issus Coleoptratus) [18 June 2019]  
  • HPi78 Sexton (Burying) Beetle [7 Aug 2019] 
  • HPi79 Small Copper [3 Aug 2019]  [10 May 2020] 2 June 2021 26 May 2022
  • HPi80 *Speckled Bush Cricket [3 Aug 2019] 
  • HPi81 Dark-edged Bee-fly (Bombylius major) [24 Mar 2020]2022
  • HPi82 *Rhyparochromus vulgaris Ground bug [2 April 2020] 13 Mar 2021
  • HPi83 *Tawny Mining Bee (Andrena (Andrena) fulva) [11 April 2020] 27 May 2021
  • HPi84 *Dolichovespula media [19 April 2020] 
  • HPi85 Mother Shipton moth [May 2020]
  • HPi86 Green Hairstreak [May 2020] 12 May, 9 June 2021
  • HPi87 *Angle Shades moth [25 May 2020] 
  • HPi88 Green-veined White [Apr 2020]  
  • HPi89 Malachite beetle [June 2020]   
  • HPi90 Thick-legged Flower Beetle [June 2020]    
  • HPi91 Common Froghopper [12 June 2020]     
  • HPi92 Small Heath [13 June, 18 July 2020]    
  • HPi93 Stag Beetle (female) [13 June 2020]    
  • HPi94 Red-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius, m & f) [18 June 2020]2022    
  • HPi95 Long hoverfly Sphaerophoria scripta [18 June 2020]    
  • HPi96 Blue-tailed Damselfly [14 June 2020]    
  • HPi97 Common White Wave moth [13 June 2020]    
  • HPi98 Ringlet butterfly [25 June 2020] 2021
  • HPi99 Leaf-cutter bee (Megachile centuncularis)  [26 June 2020]   
  • HPi100 *Lesser Stag Beetle (Dorcus parallelipipedus) [27 June 2020] 
  • HPi101 Broad-bordered Bee Hawk-moth (see here) [3 July 2020]   
  • HPi102 Ichneumon Amblyteles armatorius [10 July 2020]  
  • HPi103 Emperor Dragonfly [16 July 2020] 
  • HPi104 Swallowtail moth [16 July 2020] 
  • HPi105 *Brown Argus (a first for the garden!) [18, 24 July 2020]2021
  • HPi106 *White-point moth (another first for the garden!) [18 July 2020]24 May 2022
  • HPi107 *Hairy-legged Mining Bee, aka Pantaloon bee (Dasypoda hirtipes) (a first for the garden!) [18 July 2020] 
  • HPi108 White Plume moth (and another first for the garden!) [25, 27 July 2020]
  • HPi109 *Southern Hawker (female, and another first for the garden!) [8 Sept 2020]
  • HPi110 Field Grasshoppers [Aug and Sept 2020]
  • HPi111 Purple Hairstreak (a first for the garden!) [3 Aug 2020]  
  • HPi112 Rove Beetle, different from 53 above. Image below [25 February 2021]
  • HPi113 Meliscaeva auricollis. [25 March 2021]
  • HPi114 * Nomada marshamella [30 April 2021]
  • HPi115 Rhopalid bug Corizus hyoscyami [30 May 2021]
  • HPi116 Muslin moth [9 June 2021]
  • HPi117 Banded Demoiselle [15 June 2021]
  • HPi118 Box-tree moth [Aug 2021]larvae, April 2022
  • HPi119 Hummingbird Hawk-moth  [3 September 2021]
  • HPi120 Kite-tailed Robber Fly [July 2021] 
  • HPi121 *Agriotes lineatus March 2022
  • HPi122 * Early Thorn moth Selenia dentaria  17 April 2022 
  • HPi123 * Turtle (shield)bug Podops inuncta 6 May 2022

 

Molluscs

  • HPm1 Brown Lipped Snail (Cepaea (Cepaea) nemoralis[May/June 2016] 202020212022
  • HPm2 Field Slug (Deroceras[May/June 2016] 2021

 

Arachnids

  • HPa1 Zebra Spider [Apr/May 2015] [May/June 2015] [Mar/Apr 2016] [May 2018] 2020
  • HPa2 Garden Spider (Araneus diadematus) [May/June 2015] [27 April 2019]
  • HPa3 *Cucumber spider (Arianella) [31 May 2019]  
  • HPa4 *Jumping spider (Heliophanus) [22 May, Sept 2019]  
  • HPa5 Crab spider, with pink stripes, aka 'White Death' (Misumena vatia) [9 Aug 2019]   
  • HPa6 Nursery Web spider (Heliophanus) [22 Mar 2020] (Spiderlings hatch: 27 June 2020) 2021
  • HPa7 *Noble False Widow 23 June 20212022
  • HPa8 Wasp spider [new! four, 5-9 Sept 2020] three, Aug 2021... see photo below.
- - - 

Most recent sighting

HPi64 *Bagworm moth case (Psychidae) [31 May 2019] 22 May 2022
 

These strange Psyche casta cases make me think of the Caddisfly larva I have seen, but they are actually made and eventually shed by a moth

 

Unusual residents

Wasp spider
 

Unusual residents include the False Widow spider (see here) and the Wasp Spider. I definitely prefer sharing a garden with the latter (see here)! You can just make out the beautiful egg-sac.