Saturday, 4 July 2020

National Meadows Day (in Miniature)




Today is National Meadows Day here in the UK. This particular 'celebration' has wild flowers has its focus, but I have added inverted commas as the news is not all good. I read on the magnificent meadows site about '7.5 million acres of meadows and flower-rich grasslands that have been lost since the 1930s'. The English Heritage site tells much the same story here.

Due to my shielding (which continues in many respects until August) I have not been out in a 'proper' meadow for far too long, so I have chosen to post a few pictures of our garden which is currently a micro-meadow with a path for my daily exercise. I share the path with Blackbirds and think it must help them to see what is lurking at the base of the long grass.

Is this a Carder bee of sorts?

We simply allowed the lawn to grow, and it was not only grass that grew but Knapweed,

You can see where the Nursery-web spiderlings hatched out: we watched it happen!

Ox-eye daisies,



and a plant with globular blue flower heads that looks as if it might be a garden escape, perhaps a species of Echinops or Eryngeum. Do let me know if you recognise it! It seems to attract ladybirds, and will, I hope, attract bees when the blue flowers open.



Last year's seed head with this year's pupa, which should darken soon.

It has been a joy to see more Meadow Browns than we have had before,



Ringlets, which we have not had before...




and more Skipper butterflies than there have been in previous years.



Butterfly Conservation's Suffolk branch supplied us with seeds for insects, which we grew in a trough. These are now a cluster of meadow flowers in the form of Cornflowers and Corn marigolds. I have also grown Poppies from seed.

I still recall Nursery School afternoons when the boys and girls my class marched off in a crocodile to Kippington Meadow in Kent. Part of our time in the meadow included forming a large circle to sing (and skip along to) 'In and out the dusty bluebells'. Meadows are so important for biodiversity and I feel sad that I have not been able to go out and see a bluebell this year. But I wonder how many children never have the chance to run wild among the buttercups and butterflies in swathes of long grass.

Friday, 3 July 2020

Updated Home Patch Species List, 2020

Garden wildlife during the lockdown, a selection


I am delighted to report that I have now counted 100 (+1) insect species in our suburban Suffolk garden. Insect number 101, spotted this morning, was rather spectacular, and a first sighting of this species for me. Sadly it flew over the fence before I could reach for my camera but never mind. I wonder what wildlife tomorrow will bring.

Before I post my list, I want to mention an insect that regretfully does not feature on it. The Glow-worm. My lockdown poetry project comes to an end this week since so many of the restrictions are being lifted here in England, but there is still time for you to sit down in a quiet place and write a 5-line poem inspired by the fabulous Glow-worm photos taken by Vicky Quantrill whose brother, Dr Tim Gardiner, entomologist and published writer, is Guest Poet on my lockdown site, The Glow of Emerald Light. Do click this link and see if you might like to submit a poem before 23.00 hrs on Wednesday 8 July. You will find a few guidelines and suggestions. Do read Tim's contribution to the project here.

And now to my updated list...

Avian sightings
  • HPb1   Great Spotted Woodpecker [O]  [early March, June 2020]
  • HPb2   Great tit [R] 2020
  • HPb3   Long-tailed tit [R] 2020
  • HPb4   Blackbird [R] 2020
  • HPb5   Song Thrush  [27 April 2019 - a pair] [27 March 2020]
  • HPb6   Blue tit [R] 2020
  • HPb7   Robin  [R]  2020
  • HPb8   Magpie [R] 2020
  • HPb9   Wood Pigeon  [R] 2020
  • HPb10 Dunnock [R] 2020
  • HPb11 Starling [R] 2020
  • HPb12 Carrion Crow [R] 2020
  • HPb13 Goldfinch [R] 2020
  • HPb14 Jay [O] 2020
  • HPb15 Green Woodpecker [O] seen in passing [May 2020]
  • HPb16 Wren [O] [27 March 2020]
  • HPb17 Bullfinch [19 January 2017] 2020
  • HPb18 Sparrowhawk [June 2020]
  • HPb19 Mallard 
  • HPb20 House Sparrow [1 June 2019] [June 2020]
  • HPb21 Chaffinch 2020
  • HPb22 Grey Heron [18 and 26 Feb 2020]
  • HPb23 Collared Dove [R] 2020
  • HPb24 Coal tit  
  • HPb25 Redwing [20 January 2017] 
  • HPb26 Kestrel  [8 June 2017]  
  • HPb27 Blackcap [Feb 2020]
  • HPb28 Greenfinch [6 Feb 2020]

Mammal sightings
  • HPm1 (?Wood) Mouse
  • HPm2 Bat ... [1st 2015 sighting 7 May 2015] [Apr/May 2015]  [22 Jan 2017]  [Aug 2018]  [8 Aug 2019] May 2020]
  • HPm3 Shrew 
  • HPm4 Grey Squirrel [R] and now [O] 2020
  • HPm5 Stoat
  • HPm6 Hedgehog  [9 Aug 2018] [1 June 2019]

Amphibian sightings
  • HPam1 Common Frog [26 May 2019] 

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] 2020
  • HPi3 Brimstone butterfly [April 2014] [5 June 2019] 2020
  • HPi4 7-spot Ladybird [April 2014] [Oct 2014] [2015] [Jul/Aug 2015] [Sept/Oct 2015] [Mar/Apr 2016] 2020
  • HPi5 Small Skipper butterfly [July 2014] [26 July 2019] [20,21 June 2020]
  • HPi6 Meadow Brown butterfly [July 2014] [Jul/Aug 2015] [12 June 2020, six!]
  • HPi7 Large White butterfly [July 2014] [Jul/Aug 2016] [21 June 2020]
  • 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] 2020
  • HPi10 Orange tip butterfly [May 2014] 2020
  • 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]  2020
  • 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]
  • HPi18 Gatekeeper butterfly [Jul/Aug 2016] [9 Aug 2019]
  • HPi19 Comma butterfly [August 2014] [June/July 2016] [2017] [8 Aug 2019] 2020
  • HPi20 Red Admiral butterfly [August 2014] [October 2014] [Jul/Aug 2015] [8 Aug 2019] [14 June 2020]
  • HPi21 Peacock butterfly [August 2014] [Jul/Aug 2015] [Nov/Dec 2015] [8 Aug 2019] [27 March 2020]
  • HPi22 Green bottle flies [August 2014] [May/June 2015]
  • HPi23 Ants [R] [27 March 2020]
  • 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]
  • 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]  2020
  • 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] 2020
  • HPi40 Dark Bush Cricket (nymph) [18 May 2017] [10 June 2019] [10 June 2020]
  • HPi41 Common Cockchafer  [18 May 2017] [14 June 2019] [10 June 2020]
  • HPi42 Scorpion Fly [May2017] [23 May 2017]  
  • HPi43 Soldier Beetle (Cantharis rustica [2017] [13 May 2018][2019] 2020
  • 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] 2020
  • HPi48  Speckled Wood butterfly (Pararge aegeria)   [15 May 2018] 2020
  • HPi49  Ruby Tiger moth (Phragmatobia fuliginosa)   [18 May 2018] 2020
  • HPi50  Mint Moth (Pyrausta aurata)   [24 May 2018]  [2019] 2020
  • 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] 
  • HPi55 Fire bug nymph [17 April 2019] 
  • HPi56 Pine Ladybird [1 April 2019]  2020
  • 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]  
  • 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] 
  • HPi71 Fairy Longhorn moth (Adela) [9 May 2019]  
  • HPi72 *Dagger Fly (Empis Tessellata) [13 May 2019]  
  • HPi73 *Honey bee (Apis mellifera) [31 May 2019]  2020
  • 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]
  • HPi80 *Speckled Bush Cricket [3 Aug 2019] 
  • HPi81 Dark-edged Bee-fly (Bombylius major) [24 Mar 2020]
  • HPi82 *Rhyparochromus vulgaris Ground bug [2 April 2020] 
  • HPi83 *Tawny Mining Bee (Andrena (Andrena) fulva) [11 April 2020] 
  • HPi84 *Dolichovespula media [19 April 2020] 
  • HPi85 Mother Shipton moth [May 2020]
  • HPi86 Green Hairstreak [May 2020] 
  • 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 2020]    
  • HPi93 Stag Beetle (female) [13 June 2020]    
  • HPi94 Red-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius, m & f) [18 June 2020]    
  • 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]    
  • HPi99 Leaf-cutter bee (Megachile centuncularis)  [26 June 2020]   
  • HPi100 *Lesser Stag Beetle (Dorcus parallelipipedus) [27 June 2020] 
  • HP101 Broad-bordered Bee Hawk-moth (see here) [3 July 2020]   
Molluscs
  • HPm1 Brown Lipped Snail (Cepaea (Cepaea) nemoralis) [May/June 2016] 2020
  • HPm2 Field Slug (Deroceras) [May/June 2016] 
  •  
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 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