A Lepidopterists Day

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Apparently, this practice of butterflies grouping together on muck etc is to take sodium salts ( Girl Butterflies are not wanted ) this is an almost entirely male preserve, sometimes referred to as “pudding” or a “puddle club”. The whole thing is connected with reproduction.

When out walking I saw fourteen species of butterfly, there were plenty of all of them and a few moths.

The two photos below the Comma and Brimstone are of a Silver Washed Fritillary, identification from the underwing colouring and the broad scent scales on surface of three veins on the upper wing. There have been reports in the past of these butterflies on Wimpole Estate but this is the first time for a photo of them. There were several around the Gloucesters woodland belt area

Comma Butterfly

Comma Butterfly

 

Brimstone Butterfly

Brimstone Butterfly

 

 

 

 

 

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Full face of the Devil, actually a six spot burnet moth

Full face of the Devil, actually a Six Spot Burnet moth

A “Y” shaped moth closed up and open so called due to the mark on the wing

Y Shaped Moth

Y Shaped Moth

"Y" Shaped Moth

“Y” Shaped Moth

 

 

 

 

 

Now to some smaller insects at their dinner table

A mixed group at ther table

A mixed group at ther table

 

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Agapanthia Villosoviridescens (long horn )

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Currently Uidentified

 

 

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Sunset and and Butterflies

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I get up early, but not quite lively enough to see the sunrise so here’s a local sunset instead.

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Saturday ( today 12th July ) I set out to specifically try to find the Fritillary Butterfly, I saw one very ragged one last year and it was identified as a Dark Green Fritillary and I think this is the same. However without catching them its difficult to tell the Dark Green from the Silver Washed Fritillary. On careful looking at the forewing,the Dark Green doesn’t have scent scales along three of the wing veins whilst the Silver Washed does – conclusion – It’s a Dark Green again. The main food plant of these two Fritillaries is Dog Violet and there’s plenty of the in and around the woods.

There was also a good showing of Gatekeepers, the first I’ve seen this year

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Plenty of Small Skippers about and to tell them apart from the Large Skipper, they are much smaller in size and their scent scales on the wings are much reduced. Compare the two photographs below

Large Skipper

Large Skipper

Small Skipper

Small Skipper

 

 

 

 

 

There are also blotches ion the Large Skipper wings which are absent ion the Small Skipper.

The amount insect life in general was very good plenty of already reported butterflies, hoverflies, bees and moths

Information Sources on Wildlife

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Being very much an amateur naturalist, I have to rely on the work of other people to help with identification. There are Wildlife Trusts, Books, Magazines, a multitude of societies but probably the best sources are on the internet. One group I’ve found most helpful is a Facebook group called “insects of Great Britain ands Northern Europe. If I can’t identify an insect I often post a photograph on their page and ask for help in identification – the reply is usually very fast and always accurate, you can then refer to your books or Google for more information.

The two photos above are the same species of Long Horn Moth ( Nemophora Metallica ), they were identified for me by the Facebook Group. Then checking up on the Internet I find that’s what they are and some extra information about them. They are diurnal, YES. they feed on Scabious flowers – YES, and found locally on chalk land areas – YES.

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Friends can also be avery useful source of information, my daughter identified the Scorpion Fly for me. No, its not a killer, stinger or poisonous, it looks pretty vicious but it eats dead insects often stealing them from spiders webs. The LH photo is female and the RH one is male with the red scorpion like tail end.

Now a halfway change over from insects to plants, below is a Dog Rose Gall caused by a Gall Wasp laying her eggs in the leaf bud. The galls start off green and become red after a time. One common name for them is Robins Pincushion

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Moving fully on to plants, I spotted a rather naked looking Willow sapling with its bark stripped off, damage caused by Grey Squirrels. About 25 years ago I was called into Wimpoles’ Gardens to see what some vandals had done to a Horse Chestnut Tree planted by The Queen Mother in 1979, again the vandals turned out to be Grey Squirrels biting off all of the outer leaves and leaving a mess of debris on the grass. No wonder Foresters and Gardeners don’t like them.

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This mornings flower photos have to go to the Broad Leafed Helleborine , there are quite a few of these woodland orchids in the ‘Gloucestors’ woodland belt

Initially quite hard to see but become very obvious at full height of some 60cm, I seen them in four separate places, with one location having five plants close together. The flowers are a very subdued pink and green colour, more photos to come when more florets are in flower.

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I finished the day with more photos of the Little Owl, owlets.

Note:- there are plenty of other helpful groups to name a few on Facebook;-

British Spider identification

UK Hoverflies

Butterflies UK

Birds, Mammals and Flowers

 

Little Owl

Little Owl

 

For several months I’ve been trying to get a good photo of the Little Owls nesting near the Woodyard. Well busses come all at the same time and here’s a couple of shots of the owlets.

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Following on from this at last I got a good but long distance video of seven hares playing together in a field, will have to go out tomorrow very early with abetter camera.

 

Spring and early summer flowers have now passed their ‘sell by’ date as far as appearance goes, however the insects still need to feed and summer flowers are now showing.

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Toad Flax

Toad Flax

Toad Flax

Toad Flax

 

Wild Basil

Wild Basil

 

Ladies Bedstraw

Ladies Bedstraw

Cluster Bell Flower

Cluster Bell Flower

 

The

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Bedstraw

Common Bedstraw

 

 

 

 

 

Meadow Sweet

Meadow Sweet

Wooly Thistle is showing its flower but not still fully developed, more pictures will follow.

Wooly Thistle

Wooly Thistle

Sulphur Clover

Sulphur Clover 

 

 

 

 

 

One quite scarce plant at Wimpole is Sulphur Clover, several clumps were found in Hall Close Fields in the South Avenue.

 

Even More Insects

 

Amblyteles Armatorious

Some of Saturdays’ Insects. The one above is a parasitic wasp, it lays eggs in butterfly larvae – I suppose they’ve got to eat ! Latin names have been used on photo captions as these insects don’t have a common name. Haven’t managed to identify the grass hopper yet, I will update when I find out

Female Thick Thigh

Female Thick Thigh

Techinid Fly

Techinid Fly

 

 

 

 

Helophilus Pendulus

Helophilus Pendulu

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Sphaerophoria Scripta

 

 

 

 

 

Potato Caspid

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Potato Caspid

Leaf Hopper

Leaf Hopp

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Nigra Paella ?

Moths, Butterflies and Other Insects

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The last week or so, ( end of June ) has seen a real flush of all manner of butterflies and moths with the most recent being another showing of Comma Butterflies, so called because of the white ‘comma’ mark on the underside of the wing.

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Cinnebar, Burnet moths still appear in spectacular profusion, now being accompanied by some of their less showy associates, Yellow Shell, various Footman moths, Barred Red ( I think ) Common Carpet, Straw Dot, Orange Tail and a Broken China moth, plus a scorpion fly

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The plants are also host to other smaller insects, some of which have a dramatic appearance, The Soldier Fly, Thick Thighs, Marmalade Hover Fly

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Green Lacewing

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