It seems a while since I last posted about wildlife on this blog. There are various reasons for this including the following:
(a) having postponed last year's holiday, we finally got away to Cornwall.
(b) I have been busy with the launch of my new poetry collection and other (less exciting!) matters that accrued in the run up to it.
Anyway, the photographs show our favourite moth of the season so far, a Scarlet Tiger seen in the grounds of NT Cotehele, on the banks of the river Tamar. The moth was high up in a tree, which is why the photographs are fairly small.
The photograph below shows the same species (I believe), also taken in Cornwall, this time at NT Trerice two years ago. This was our first sighting ever of the species, and on this occasion it opened its wings, displaying the reason for its name.
On the subject of lepidoptera, we took full advantage of the three weeks of the Big Butterfly Count organised by Butterfly Conservation. Each time we sat outside for coffee, lunch or mugs of tea we tried to do a 15 minute count, which was then submitted to the survey.
This time last year we did much the same, and there were times when it was literally a case of take a bite, log a butterfly, take a sip, log two. It wasn't a bit like that this year; the butterflies arrived in dribs and drabs, but over the course of a week or so numbers began to mount. Even so, they don't look particularly good when set alongside those for 2020! My thanks to David for preparing these charts, which make most sense when you read them together.
We are at last beginning to see a decent increase in Red Admirals, perhaps because the white Buddleia has finally begun to come out in our garden. We even had a male Brimstone earlier, the first for a while.
I began this post with a Scarlet Tiger moth. One of the poems in my new collection concerns the larva of a different Tiger moth species. Driftwood by Starlight can be bought online (£6.99, $10) in The Seventh Quarry Press online shop (here). Some of you will know the Crafty Green Poet blog, where you can read a review (thank you, Juliet!).
'The beautifully-crafted poems in Caroline Gill's debut full-length collection more than live up to the appeal of its Cornish cove cover and title. With elegance and finesse, she masters a range of traditional forms, all of which beg to be read aloud so their musicality can be fully relished. In several poems, joy and wonder in the natural world co-exist with a deep, questioning concern for threatened species from the puffin to the fen raft spider, while Gill's imagery, particularly where birdlife's concerned – 'the curlew's bill of boomerang design', 'white/grenades explode as gannets pierce the sea' – surprises and delights in equal measure.'
Susan Richardson, author of Words the Turtle Taught Me
(Cinnamon Press, 2018), shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award