Saturday 28 May 2022

Damsels, Dragons and Painted Ladies at Helmingham Hall


We visited the gardens at Helmingham Hall last weekend in the hope that we might be some early 'dragons' or 'damsels' around the moat. As you can see, the walled garden was looking very beautiful. 

We were thrilled to see our first Painted Ladies of the season, and since then we have had one in the garden at home. 

And yes! There were damselflies, many of them Large Reds like the one in the photo. 

We saw a couple of these Broad-bodied Chasers. The males are blue, but females and immature ones are a shimmering gold. 

Friday 20 May 2022

A Garden Visitor for World Bee Day 2022


Today is United Nations World Bee Day, as I discovered when I read a brilliant poem, 'The Last Bee', by Brian Bilston on Twitter (you might have to click here and scroll down slowly to find it).

My own bee poem, 'Leaf-cutter bee', was published in last month's edition of Reach Poetry (IDP); and, as it happens, the very recent telltale signs of bare discs in our ornamental cherry suggest that 'our' bees are back.  

We bought a cylindrical bee-house some years ago, and hung it on the Acer negundo. Nothing happened the next year or the year after. This year, now that the bee-house is rusty and rather decrepit, it seems it has come into its own at last ... 🐝🐝🐝



My understanding from a kind enthusiast on iSpot is that this is a Red Mason Bee (Osmia bicornis).

Wednesday 18 May 2022

Green Hairstreak and Other Sightings

Green Hairstreak, one of three seen at Aldeburgh, Suffolk, 14 May 2022

There is something intriguing about a green butterfly, probably because the Green Hairstreak is the only green (as opposed to green-veined) species of butterfly we are likely to encounter here in the UK. It was a thrill to see three of these beautiful iridescent insects last Saturday afternoon in Aldeburgh, Suffolk. You can read a bit about the nanoscale structures on the wings of a Green Hairstreak here

We also saw:

  • Small White
  • Peacock
  • Common Blue
  • Speckled Wood
  • Orange Tip. 

We thought we might have seen a Brown Argus, but I'm not convinced as the outer wing markings of the blue butterflies I photographed seem to match those of the Common Blue. I often return to this website for guidance. 

I may not have been posting on this blog for a while, but I have been keeping my eyes and ears open for seasonal changes in the garden and on our walks. We heard our first Cuckoo on 1 May, the day we saw our first House Martins and Swallows. We saw our first damselflies of 2022 on Saturday (14th). 

My Butterfly Conservation 'Garden Butterfly Survey' list for 2022 currently includes the following sightings in no particular order:

  • Small White
  • Large White
  • Holly Blue
  • Speckled Wood
  • Peacock
  • Red Admiral (today)
  • Comma
  • Orange Tip

On our little excursions beyond the garden we have also seen Small Coppers, (and as mentioned above) Common Blues and Green Hairstreaks.  


* * * 

P.S. On the rather different subject of birds, you can click here to see my Redwing photograph on the cover of Neil Leadbeater's latest poetry collection, The Gloucester Fragments, a wonderful and inventive collection published by Littoral Press.