Sunday 19 April 2020

Today's Visitors of the Insect Kind

Two of today's garden visitors: 
the welcome Peacock Butterfly 
and the less welcome European Hornet! ... update below

We also had two more Peacocks and a Small White.

Update (see Comments)... with grateful thanks to Conehead54 who writes,
'I think your Hornet is a queen Dolichovespula media; Hornet shouldn't have those yellow stripes on the "shoulders" & generally a more chestnut thorax.'

Thursday 16 April 2020


We very rarely have Sparrows in our garden, but we often see Dunnocks, well, usually two Dunnocks to be precise. I feel they are rather unsung heroes as they keep themselves pretty much to themselves and, like the Wren, are often hidden away in the undergrowth. But they are lovely birds, and it was good to see this one braving the coconut feeder with its fat and sunflower kernels. Perhaps it was the seeds that attracted it.

The last couple of days have seen me log one Small White and one Holly Blue to my Butterfly Conservation Garden Butterfly Survey list. I keep hoping the sunny weather will attract more soon...

Saturday 11 April 2020

Tawny Mining Bee (Andrena (Andrena) fulva)

Just a quick post to say this beautiful amber-coloured bee visited our garden earlier in the week. She was very skittish and hard to photograph, but at least this photo gives a reasonable impression. Thanks to the kind folk on iSpot, I can confirm that she is, as I hoped, a (female) Tawny Mining Bee (Andrena (Andrena) fulva), another 'first' for the garden. What a magnificent insect. I looked carefully today, but failed to see another one. 


We were thrilled to have a Green-veined White in the garden yesterday. 

We also had a male Brimstone (which I failed to photograph), two Holly Blues (ditto) and this beautiful Peacock. I am continuing to record my sightings on the Butterfly Conservation 'Garden Butterfly Survey'. It will be interesting to see how my list develops. I will post a summary soon of my sightings so far. 

Saturday 4 April 2020

First 2020 Comma in the Garden

We were having a mug of coffee this morning when we looked out and noticed the flutter of wings. On closer inspection it was the first Comma we have seen in our garden this year, and its arrival was the cause of much excitement! Most of our bushes and shrubs are green, but I'm guessing there is something in the butterfly's DNA that led it to these golden leaves where it could absorb the sun, safely in camouflage.  

Showing the comma mark

I am logging the sighting on the Garden Butterfly Survey.

We prepared some soil and planted the little packet of wildflower seed that came as a gift from our local branch of Butterfly Conservation. I do hope the seedlings survive our slugs as it would be lovely to entice more butterflies into the garden. Watch this space!

Thursday 2 April 2020

Ground Bug

I found this tiny insect (sorry about poor record shot) on a wooden post in the garden a few days ago. The kind folk on iSpot and one of the local wildlife Facebook groups have helped me identify it as Rhyparochromus vulgaris, though there is a similar species, Rhyparochromus pini. Ironically for an insect climbing up a post, the Rhyparochromus is a Ground Bug. Apparently the species has not been in the UK for many years. 

I had thought initially that it was perhaps a Fire bug (see one here, if you scroll down) in an early stage of development as we come across these colourful insects in the summer, but it is clearly something else altogether, and a new species for my garden list. A further species that is similar in appearance is the Raglius alboacuminatus, which you can read about here.