Thursday 16 June 2022

Garden Sightings


We were so pleased to see that this beautiful Hummingbird Hawkmoth had found a clump of self-seeded Valerian in our wild garden. It is only the second we have seen here since we moved in a decade ago. And speaking of moving in ...

I am so thrilled to see a bee investigating our new (for 2022) bee house. Our old bee houses have been taken over by ants.


Saturday 4 June 2022

Butterflies and More at Hollesley Marshes

We decided to explore a section of the sea-wall at Hollesley Marshes, a small section of the Suffolk coast that was new to us. It was a very blustery afternoon, but dry and not very cold. To our surprise we found a good range of lepidoptera, a dragonfly and quite a few blue damselflies (which I have yet to check). 

Butterflies seen:

  1. Speckled Wood (above)
  2. Painted Lady 
  3. Red Admiral
  4. Large Skipper (our first of the season)
  5. Green Hairstreak
  6. Small Tortoiseshell
  7. Green-veined White
  8. Speckled Wood


  1. (A rather tatty) Yellow Shell


  1. Hairy Dragonfly

The area contains an inland RSPB reserve and also the coastal and estuarine reserve of Simpson's Saltings, run by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust. The next two photos show a couple of meres in the RSPB part of the site.

The photo below shows a larger wetland area on the landward side of the sea-wall. We saw a range of waterbirds here; Shoveler, Shelduck, Avocet, Mute Swan, Redshank, Lapwing and more.

I was very taken with this secluded bay in the Simpson's Saltings area. The wide estuary beyond is part of the river; the shore is reserved for wildlife so we admired it from the bank.

Shoveler on one of the landward meres


The next photo shows David on the sea-wall. The strong wind was responsible for all those white horses beyond.

Green Hairstreak

Red Admiral (and below)

The red arrow shows the saltings on the Alde-Ore estuary site

A very tattered Yellow Shell moth

Large Skipper butterfly

Hairy Dragonfly

You can see the hairy thorax below the eyes

wildflowers; the poppies were stunning

Small Toroiseshell

A drift of Thrift

A wasp, as yet unidentified, probably collecting slivers of wood


Green-veined White

Damselfly season kicking off apace!

Thursday 2 June 2022

Cocoon and Casing

A few days ago David and I discovered a stretch of heathland on Hollesley Common in Suffolk that we had yet to explore. We came across this extraordinary 'sac' on a clump of gorse, and wondered what it might be. It seemed more 'animal' than 'vegetable', so to speak. Had it been made by a spider or a sand-wasp? 

I posted a couple of photos on the iSpot site, and it wasn't long before the mystery was solved ... it's the cocoon of a moth I have been longing to see, the Emperor (Saturnia pavonia). I imagine the second part of its name, pavonia, refers to the peacock-like eye markings on the adult's wing.   

We returned to the spot this afternoon in glorious sunshine. The cocooon was looking rather bleached, but we were able to put David's measuring card alongside it; each black or white square is 1cm, so you can see it is about 3cm in length. 

* * *

I have been fascinated for a couple of years now by the 'Bagworm' and particularly by the casings these Common Sweep  (Psyche casta) moths leave on our brickwork or on our flowers. Usually all I have seen are the casings, but this week I actually saw the larva for the first time, as shown in the two photos immediately below. 

Nature certainly comes in all shapes and sizes!