Thursday, 23 January 2020

First Snowdrop

I posted a picture of frost in my previous post on a day when our tiny wildlife pond was a sheet of ice. This morning I caught a spell of sunshine and went outside, only to find this single Snowdrop. It was such a cheering sight, even if the photo, taken on my phone, barely shows off its 'singular' beauty.

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Frosty morning (and the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch)


Apologies for the photo quality, but these were taken through double-glazing. Both Robin and Bluetit were making the most of our coconut feeders this morning.

It may not have been the coldest night of the year, but it was certainly the hardest frost we have had so far. Do spare a thought for the birds, and don't forget to take part in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch this coming weekend. You can find the details here.

Our ('say no to the mow' wild) garden this morning

P.S. You might be interested in this story about the plan for a wildlife meadow at King's College, Cambridge.

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Marbled White butterfly

2019 will be marked as the year in which I (knowingly) saw my first Marbled Whites. I am not aware of having seen these striking butterflies before, but this last summer we saw a few at Stowe Landscape Gardens and then the one above on the edge of the golf course that leads to St Enodoc church in Cornwall. 

In my previous post, I added a photo of a moth with vibrant orange underwings; and here, by contrast, is a stylish specimen that lacks the array of pigments we often associate with butterflies. It just goes to show that moths can be bright and colourful and butterflies can be... well, frankly, black and white!   


I feel sure the tapestry hassock above from the church at St Enodoc displays a Purple Emperor, classed by many as 'His (or Her) Imperial Majesty' among our British butterflies. I have only ever seen a female... to date.

Sir John Betjeman's Cornish Slate grave at St Enodoc

Monday, 4 November 2019

Scarlet Tiger Moth

Who says moths are dull?

I have been meaning to post these moth photographs for ages. I posted the pictures on iSpot months ago, hoping for confirmation of my identification, but sadly I am still waiting. Perhaps some kind blogger will come to my aid instead!

We were at NT Trerice (such beautiful grounds...) in Cornwall back in late June when we became aware of a flutter over the flower bed. Amazingly, the insect came to rest, with forewings tightly together. We waited and watched, and to our delight, the moth eventually opened its wings, revealing the beautiful scarlet that you see in the photo above. I don't know whether the yellow marks, as opposed to the white marks, on the forewing are pale because the moth had just emerged: I had expected them to be brighter.

This was a first sighting for me and I am smitten! I hope I may get my eye in next year, and find some more... 


Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Updated Home Patch Species List 2019

 *Planthopper (Issus Coleoptratus) [18 June 2019]  NEW this year!
First Common Frog (seen) in garden, 26 May 2019
We have had several new species (or species noticed and recorded for the first time) in our home patch in recent weeks. I'm ready for an update! 
Blogger seemed unable to cope with all my previous font sizes and colour coding, which helped me see things at a glance; but at least the data is here. Dates with a turquoise background are 2019 records.

The list began with fellow blogger Lucy Corrander's Tree Following meme in mind. I am continuing it for my own interest, and have decided from now on to omit unidentified creatures (though I may post photos from time to time). There have, for example, been plenty of unidentified moths over the last two or three years. 

I am definitely posting more on iSpot these days in order to get more accurate IDs, and those with an asterisk * are records thanks to the kind folk who use the site. I have also been using Instagram. I will probably switch to alphabetical order in due course, but my main aim for now is to get the species noted.
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. [R] indicates a regular visitor and [O] an occasional one; and for wildlife in these categories I will not usually include updates; though it may be interesting, for example, to record first sightings of the year.  
  • HPb1   Great Spotted Woodpecker [O] [2019]
  • HPb2   Great tit [R] 
  • HPb3   Long-tailed tit [R] 
  • HPb4   Blackbird [R]
  • HPb5   Song Thrush  [27 April 2019 - a pair]  
  • HPb6   Blue tit [R]
  • HPb7   Robin  [R] 
  • HPb8   Magpie [R] 
  • HPb9   Wood Pigeon  [R] 
  • HPb10 Dunnock [R] 
  • HPb11 Starling [R] 
  • HPb12 Carrion Crow [R] 
  • HPb13 Goldfinch  [R]
  • HPb14 Jay [O]
  • HPb15 Green Woodpecker [O]
  • HPb16 Wren [O]
  • HPb17 Bullfinch [19 January 2017]  
  • HPb18 Sparrowhawk
  • HPb19 Mallard 
  • HPb20 House Sparrow [1 June 2019] 
  • HPb21 Chaffinch 
  • HPb22 Grey Heron
  • HPb23 Collared Dove [R]
  • 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 Jan 2017]  [Aug 2018]  [8 Aug 2019]
  • HPm3 Shrew 
  • HPm4 Grey Squirrel [R]
  • HPm5 Stoat
  • HPm6 Hedgehog  [9 Aug 2018] [1 June 2019]
Amphibian sightings
  • HPam1 Common Frog [26 May 2019]  NEW!
Insect sightings 
  • HPi1 Small Tortoiseshell butterfly [March 2014] [27 Feb 2017]  2019: where are these butterflies?
  • HPi2 Buff-tailed Bumblebee [March 2014] [Jan/Feb 2016] [Mar/Apr 2016] [2017]
  • HPi3 Brimstone butterfly [April 2014] [5 June 2019]
  • HPi4 7-spot Ladybird [April 2014] [Oct 2014] [Apr/May 2015] [Jul/Aug 2015] [Sept/Oct 2015] [Mar/Apr 2016]
  • HPi5 Small Skipper butterfly [July 2014] [26 July 2019]  
  • 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] [May 2019]
  • HPi9 Small White butterfly [May 2014] [Apr/May 2015] [Sept/Oct 2015 - larvae] [2 May 2019] 
  • HPi10 Orange tip butterfly [May 2014]
  • 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]  
  • HPi14 Blackfly [R] [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] [9 Aug 2019]
  • HPi19 Comma butterfly [August 2014] [June/July 2016] [2017] [8 Aug 2019]
  • HPi20 Red Admiral butterfly [August 2014] [October 2014] [Jul/Aug 2015] [8 Aug 2019]
  • HPi21 Peacock butterfly [August 2014] [Jul/Aug 2015] [Nov/Dec 2015] [8 Aug 2019]
  • HPi22 Green bottle flies [August 2014] [May/June 2015]
  • HPi23 Ants [R]
  • 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] [8 Aug 2019]
  • 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 [R] [May/June 2016] [2019]
  • 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]  
  • HPi40 Dark Bush Cricket (nymph) [18 May 2017] [10 June 2019]
  • HPi41 Common Cockchafer  [18 May 2017] [14 June 2019]
  • HPi42 Scorpion Fly [May2017] [23 May 2017]  
  • HPi43 Soldier Beetle (Cantharis rustica [2017] [13 May 2018][2019]
  • 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]  [2019]
  • HPi51  Mullein Moth larva (Cucullia verbasci)   [14 June 2018] 
  • HPi52  Silver Y moth (two)   [August 2018] 
  • HPi53  Rove Beetle (Platydracus stercorarius)   [September 2018] 
  • HPi54 *Species of Nomada [27 April 2019] NEW!
  • HPi55 Fire bug nymph [17 April 2019] 
  • HPi56 Pine Ladybird [1 April 2019] 
  • HPi57 Cinnabar moth [4 and 5 April 2019]  NEW!
  • HPi58 Small Red Damselfly [20 May 2019]  NEW! 
  • HPi59 *Tortoise Bug [3 June 2019]  NEW!  
  • HPi60 *Cryptolaemus montrouzieri [6 June 2019]  NEW! 
  • HPi61 *Varied Carpet Beetle (Anthrenus (Nathrenus) verbasci)  [6 June 2019] NEW!  
  • HPi62 *Empis tessellata [31 May 2019] NEW!
  • HPi63 *Macrophya [22 May 2019] NEW!
  • HPi64 *Bagworm moth case (Psychidae) [31 May 2019]  NEW!
  • HPi65 *Greater Bulb-Fly (Merodon equestris) [22 May 2019]  NEW!
  • HPi66 *Figwort Weevil larva (Cionus scrophulariae) [22 May 2019] NEW!
  • HPi67 *Arge Sawfly (Arge cyanocrocea) [22 May 2019] NEW! 
  • HPi68 *Sarcophaga [16 May 2019] NEW! 
  • HPi69 *Juniper Shield Bug (Cyphosthetus tristriatus) [16 May 2019] NEW!  
  • HPi70 *St Mark's Fly (Bibio marci) [28 April 2019] NEW!
  • HPi71 Fairy Longhorn moth (Adela) [9 May 2019]  NEW!  
  • HPi72 *Dagger Fly (Empis Tessellata) [13 May 2019]  NEW!  
  • HPi73 *Honey bee (Apis mellifera) [31 May 2019]  NEW!
  • HPi74 *Rutpela maculata [14 June 2019]  NEW! 
  • HPi75 *Soldier Fly (Stratiomyidae) [12 June 2019]  NEW! 
  • HPi76 *Small Dusty Wave moth (Idaea seriata) [31 May and 5 Sept 2019]  NEW! 
  • HPi77 *Planthopper (Issus Coleoptratus) [18 June 2019]  NEW! 
  • HPi78 Sexton (Burying) Beetle [7 Aug 2019]  NEW!
  • HPi79 Small Copper [3 Aug 2019]  NEW!
  • HPi80 *Speckled Bush Cricket [3 Aug 2019]  NEW!
  • HPm1 Brown Lipped Snail (Cepaea (Cepaea) nemoralis) [May/June 2016]
  • HPm2 Field Slug (Deroceras) [May/June 2016] 
  • HPa1 Zebra Spider [Apr/May 2015] [May/June 2015] [Mar/Apr 2016] [May 2018] 
  • HPa2 Garden Spider (Araneus diadematus) [May/June 2015] [27 April 2019]
  • HPa3 *Cucumber spider (Arianella) [31 May 2019]  NEW!  
  • HPa4 *Jumping spider (Heliophanus) [22 May 2019]  NEW!  
  • HPa5 Crab spider, showing pink stripes, aka 'White Death' (Misumena vatia) [9 Aug 2019]  NEW! 

Sexton Beetle attacked by Spider, August 2019