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...

Tuesday 12 September 2017

A Medley of Moths

Muslin Moth (Diaphora mendica or Cycnia mendica), 16 Sept 2015, Flatford Mill, Suffolk

Having posted a photograph for each butterfly species I have seen here, I felt it would be good to post a few of my moth pictures. Now, I am all but a total novice when it comes to moths. I can tell a couple of our day-flying ones, but that is about all. I would love to begin to learn a bit more and have attempted identifications where possible, but would be delighted to hear from you if you can correct any errors.

The photos in this post are, I'm afraid, in no particular order, but they help me to see something of the huge variety of moths.

Drinker moth (Euthrix potatoria, aka Philudoria potatoria), 25 July 2015, Wicken Fen

Gold Swift, Phymatopus hecta 14 July 2010, Badenoch, Scotland

Yellow Shell , 23 June 2014, Mull (near Ulva ferry), Scotland

Yellow Shell (Camptogramma bilineata), 30 Aug 2016, home patch

Blood Vein (Timandra comae) or ?Small Blood-vein, 10 Sept. 2017, Sutton Hoo

Red Underwing (Catocala nupta), 10 August 2016, Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk

Straw Underwing (Thalpophila matura), 20 Aug 2015, home 

?Micromoth... to be identified, 2017, home patch

Light Brown Apple Moth, home patch

(Epiphyas postvittana)

(Epiphyas postvittana) Homepatch

?Carpet moth, 2015, Grimshoe Mound, Grimes Graves

?Shaded broad bar, Snape, Suffolk, 2017
(Scotopteryx chenopodiata)

6-spot Burnet (Zygaena filipendulae)

 ... above and below. We have watched these emerging once on the Summer Isles and once at Carlton Marshes in Suffolk.

Cinnabar moth, 5 June 2016, Snape

??Vestal moth, 20 June 2016, Whithorn, Scotland

Silver Y, June 2016, Dunwich Heath

Chimney Sweeper (Odezia atrata) , 15 June 2016, Lake District

Unidentified - home, window

Buff-Ermine, moth, (Spilosoma lutea), home, 16 Aug 2015

Swallowtail-moth (Ourapteryx sambucaria), 30 June 2015, home

Straw Dot (Rivula sericealis), 2015, home patch

Common Quaker moth, (Orthosia cerasi) 28 March 2011, Dinefwr, Wales

Mint moth (Pyrausta purpuralis), 1 August 2014, Avebury

Mint moth, Flatford RSPB garden

?Fairy longhorn moth (Adela reaumurella), Home patch, 2015

Green Longhorn Moth

The insect below, seen at WWT Welney, is NOT a moth. It is, however, a longhorn beetle...

NOT A MOTH! This longhorn beetle is Aromia moschata or Musk Beetle
 We finish this selection with a creature that is NOT A BIRD but a moth...

Hummingbird Hawk-moth, 24 Aug 2015, Suffolk

And finally, a couple of photos of the Hummingbird Hawk-Moths I saw in 2010 in the Peloponnese in Greece...

(Macroglossum stellatarum) Pylos area, Peloponnese, 2010

(Macroglossum stellatarum) Koroni, Peloponnese, Greece, 2010

I have posted lepidoptera larvae photos before, but will perhaps post these again soon, with a few new additions... Meanwhile, I hope there will be more adult moths to spot (except in my wardrobe...) in the days to come as summer morphs into autumn.

P.S. Having posted about the butterfly books I have read this summer, it makes sense to mention that I am currently reading A Moth Snowstorm: Nature and Joy by Michael McCarthy, which is reviewed here. I was perhaps expecting more about moths but I haven't finished the book yet so cannot give an overall impression. I love the 'joyful' concept that filters through the pages. There is also a good section on the colour blue (my favourite) and its place in the natural world...