Miscellany over the last week or so 25th July

Before I blog a huge list of additional moths to the last Lepidoptera Blog, I thought a random list was necessary as so much has been happening. I’ll start with the flowers.

Cluster Bell Flower

Cluster Bell Flower

In addition to the Cluster Bell Flower two others have appeared, the Hare bell and the Nettle Leafed Bell Flower, plenty growing in the road see verges.

Hare Bell

Hare Bell

Nettle leafed Bell Flower

Nettle leafed Bell Flower

 

 

 

 

 

Nettled Leaf Bell Flower

Nettled Leaf Bell Flower

I’ve been waiting for the Helleborines to come into flower, the numbers are increasing as the number along the Trackside location has doubled to 12 plants, I’m sure there’s plenty more in the woods generally.

Helleborine

Helleborine

Heelleborine

Helleborine

 

 

 

 

 

Another newcomer in the field margins is the Musk Mallow

Musk Mallow

Musk Mallow

Loosestrife

Loosestrife

 

 

 

 

 

Whilst the number of different Hoverflies has gone down quite a lot, Butterflies of all types abound. In one field well flowered margin 10metres by about 70 metres, I found 14 different ones within a half-hour period, adding to this years list was my first sight of a Brown Argos. This and a few other areas are generally thick with butterflies, going against what has been described as possibly a poor year for them due to the wet weather

Brown Argos

Brown Argos

Whilst taking this shot a very convenient Long Horn Beetle landed on a Ragwort plant

Stenocorus Meridianus

Stenocorus Meridianus

Male Roesels Bush Cricket

Male Roesels Bush Cricket

 

 

 

 

 

named as yet

unnamed as yet

Labyrinth Spider

Labyrinth Spider

 

 

 

 

 

Plenty of Labyrinth Spiders about, trying to get photos is quite difficult, very fast to disappear down their hole. Technique is to hold the camera at arms length and slowly very slowly advance the camera ‘click’ and they’ve gone !

 

 

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Lepidoptera

MY RECORD OF LEPIDOPTERA SEEN AROUND WIMPOLE

THE BUTTERFLIES

We’ve had our early broods of butterflies, the Brimstone, Peacocks, Tortoise shells, Commas, Red Admirals and a very good year for the Holly Blues but not so good for the early Common Blues, maybe the second brood in August and September will be better.

 

Comma

Comma

Brimstone

Brimstone

 

 

 

 

Holly Blue

Holly Blue

 

Common Blue

Common Blue

At the moment there are areas of Wimpole Estate where there are clouds of butterflies, Meadow Browns, Ringlets, Marbled Whites, Gatekeepers, Small Heaths and the little moth like Skippers. They all seem to be everywhere, field margins and the long grass areas.

Marbled White

Marbled White

Ringlet

Ringlet

 

 

 

 

 

Gate Keeper

Gate Keeper

Small Skipper

Small Skipper

 

 

 

 

 

One butterfly that has been plentiful in the past has been the Speckled Wood, last year numbers seem to have dropped off and at the moment I’ve seen less than five this year.

Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood

 

The two most recent additions to the list are the Silver Washed Fritillary, more this year than in previous years, and the migrant Painted Lady, not a huge number at the moment but it could build up with more southerly winds.

Silver Washed Fritillary

Silver Washed Fritillary

Painted Lady

Painted Lady

 

 

 

 

 

Both migrants, the Painted Lady and the Clouded Yellow, are being seen more regularly and more of them as well. Is this another indication of climate change and will they become resident in Britain as the global temperature increases?

Clouded Yellow

Clouded Yellow

 

Two butterflies conspicuous by their current absence so far this year are the Brown Argos and the Small Copper, still plenty of summer time left, for the Brown Argos late July / August and the Small Copper July through to September.

Small Copper

Small Copper

Brown Argos

Brown Argos

 

 

 

 

 

Other butterflies commonly seen at Wimpole are Meadow Brown, Large Skipper, Large White,  Small White.

Meadow Brown

Meadow Brown

Large Skipper

Large Skipper

 

 

 

 

 

Large White

Large White

Green Veined White

Green Veined White

 

 

 

 

 

THE MOTHS

Not to be left out there are several day flying moths to be seen when you disturb the long grass, Lattice Heath, Blood Vein, Yellow Shell, Mother Shipton, Silver y shaped, Burnet Companion, various Plumes, Barred Umber, Cinnebars, although numbers of the Cinnabar seem to be in decline.

Lattice Heath

Lattice Heath

Mother Shipton

Mother Shipton

 

 

 

 

 

Blood Veined

Blood Veined

Barred Umber

Barred Umber

 

 

 

 

 

Cinnabar Moth

Cinnabar Moth

 

Last year saw a lot of the migrant Humming Bird Hawk moth and whilst a few have been seen locally, not yet the big migration from Europe, perhaps when the Clouded Yellows arrive, usually early August at Wimpole

My night time moth trap is being quite successful, plenty of difficult to identify brownish and small moths are being caught. There are however several of the easier to ID moths, Privet and Elephant Hawk Moths and a solitary Pine Hawk Moth and Poplar Hawk Moth.

Privet Hawk Moth

Privet Hawk Moth

Elephant Hawk Moth

Elephant Hawk Moth

 

 

 

 

 

Pine Hawk Moth

Pine Hawk Moth

Poplar Hawk Moth

Poplar Hawk Moth

 

 

 

 

 

Other notables, mainly because of their striking appearances, are Ermine, Yellow Underwings, Magpies, Swallow Tailed, Emerald, Dark Umber, Barred Umber, Scalloped Oak.

Ermine

Ermine

Swallow Tail

Swallow Tail

 

 

 

 

 

Scalloped Oak

Scalloped Oak

Burnished Brass

Burnished Brass

 

 

 

 

 

More records/photos to follow in the next blog

Walking Helps You See

I’ve never understood why people have the desire to run when walking is also good for your health, without the jarring of  knees and ankles that you get from running.

In the army there’s a saying “officers never run. it alarms the troops” and I don’t wish to alarm anyone ! so, I walk in the countryside for an hour or so everyday.

All I can recall when being made to run at school and in the army, was sweat dribbling into my eyes and seeing the ‘front runners’ muddy shoes flicking mud at me, joined by red legs to wobbling bottoms; not a pleasant sight before breakfast.

Each to his own for whatever reason !!!

Walking gives you time to stop and enjoy your surroundings, to listen and see what is there.

IMG_4969

You get to hear the wind in the trees, see the grass bending in the wind and walking through the grass seeing the pollen clouds bursting from the grasses, the nodding wild flowers and the wind moving wheat fields in waves.

Cluster Bell Flower

Cluster Bell Flower

Goats Beard Flower

Goats Beard Flower

 

 

 

 

 

Red Campion

Red Campion

Bladder Campion

Bladder Campion

Early morning, before the warmth of the sun has yet to fully penetrate the bodies of the stretching, yawning bees and butterflies  ( or you, come to that ) you get to see insects close up and get some easy photos.

Marbled White

Marbled White

Common Blue

Common Blue

 

 

 

 

 

Green Veined White

Green Veined Whit

 

DSC04441

 

As the day warms up plenty of other insects appear, many of them migrant summer visitors from Europe.

Hover flies are harmless, many different ones, varied coloured and sizes, here are a few of the regular ones to be seen.

Volucella Inflata

Volucella Inflata

Episyrphus Balteatus

Episyrphus Balteatus

 

 

 

 

 

Chrysotoxum Festivum

Chrysotoxum Festivum

Sphaephoria Scripta

Sphaephoria Scripta

 

 

 

 

.

Something always to look forward to is the arrival of two migrant butterflies and the humming bird hawk moth

Painted Lady

Painted Lady

Clouded Yellow

Clouded Yellow

Humming Bird Hawkmoth

Humming Bird Hawkmoth

Many birds feed early in the morning so there’s plenty of movement about. Buzzards soaring on the early morning thermals and the odd red kite looking for an easy meal.

RED KITE

RED KITE

Suddenly a flutter and a brace of grey partridge fly off, low and following the contours of the ground. Red legged partridge are by comparison to the grey, quite plentiful, however in their home countries France, Spain and Portugal they are declining in numbers

Grey Partridge

Grey Partridge

 

If its a good vole year and the barn owls have young, they frequently hunt during the day to keep the family fed. In poor ‘vole years ‘ they often don’t breed, This year we know that at least two of the four nests on Wimpole Estate have young in them, more to follow.

Barn Owl

Barn Owl

Carefully, quietly and silently look over the bridge over the water, you may catch the glimpse of an otter, a water vole or a kingfisher.

Kingfisher

Kingfisher

Mute swan with cygnets

Mute swan with cygnets

 

 

 

 

 

 

A late vixen may be seen with one of the farm chickens in its mouth heading home to the cubs in the den as well as muntjac and fallow deer retreating into the woods and occasionally a badger who’s had a night out ‘on the tiles’.

Fox

Fox

Badger

Badger

 

 

 

 

 

Its interesting to record what you see each year, you can then plan on what you should see and where you should see it. Times often depend on the weather and of course the gradual  seasonal and weather changes with Global warming.

In early morning you’re not the only one about, you can meet others who enjoy walking ( with or without dogs ), exchange information on what you’ve seen, comment on the sunrise or lack of sun. Sit and watch and take photos of the sunrise.

Sunrise 29th Sept 2015 0630

Sunrise 29th Sept 2015 0630

Sunrise 29th SEPT 0720

Sunrise 29th SEPT 0720

 

 

 

 

 

 

I always look for boxing hares but have only ever seen one proper match. Often there are larger groups chasing each other around but it rarely comes to a real fight

Group of Brown Hares

Group of Brown Hares

The Real Fighters

The Real Fighters

 

 

 

 

 

After the walk still keep your eyes peeled for the unexpected, a stoat crossing the road, there were two but I only got the one on video

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 21.18.35

The seeing and photography can be taken further

 

 

Flowers So Far and Road Verges Again

 

Cowslips

Cowslips

Over the past 5+ years there’s been a steady positive change in the numbers of different wild flowers on Wimpole Estate. Far too many to have all of the photos in this blog.
There are several reasons why this change has occurred, the arable farm at Wimpole has changed from what is currently referred to as “conventional” farming to an organic system ( to me this should be called conventional farming ) and the current main farming method, should be known as “chemical” farming.
The arable farm is now in various agreements to leave 6 metre field margins, rough areas in the middle of arable fields, difficult and wet areas being left fallow.
Hay fields are left to seed until the first or second week in July before being cut. All this to encourage flowers hence insects, birds and small mammals
The warden staff and volunteers have been busy spreading cut hay from flower rich meadows, as a local seed source, to enrich other not so good meadows on the farm. In addition to planting new hedges and trees, they also traditionally ‘lay’ the older hedges which encourages bottom growth for cover and the ‘laying’ is done to different hedges annually, ensuring different heights and width of hedges meeting the needs of different breeds of birds.

DSC01368
This overall approach increases the flowers, a vital source of nectar and pollen for the insects, more insects provide a valuable food source for birds and especially growing young birds. cover for small mammals that provide food for many birds of prey, Owls, Kestrels.
Many birds use the cover for nesting in the field margins, hedgerows and centre of field rough areas. Later in the year they take advantage of the seeds and berries

Dogs Mercury

Dogs Mercury

Lesser Celandine

Lesser Celandine

 

 

 

 

 

Spring sets off the year with a rich green woodland carpet of dogs mercury followed by violets, bluebells, wood anemones, wild garlic, lesser celandine and Jack by the hedge, all taking advantage of the lack of leaf cover.

Wild Garlic

Wild Garlic

Dog Violet

Dog Violet

Bluebell

Bluebell

Ragged Robin

Ragged Robin

 

 

 

 

 

Following on In the meadows it’s fritillaries, ox eye daisy, ragged robin, meadow cranesbill, campions, yellow rattled and the orchids. On the roadside verges and hedges the white wild carrot, hemlock and parsley abound.

Bladder Campion

Bladder Campion

 

Red Campion

Red Campi

Meadow Cranes Bill

Meadow Cranes Bill

Fritillary

Fritillary

Yellow Rattle

Yellow Rattle

Pyramidal Orchid

Pyramidal Orchid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As summer approaches knapweed, goats beard, its close relative salsify, St Johns wort, crested cow wheat, yellow wort, dropwort, scabious and many varieties vetches can be seen.

Goats Beard Flower

Goats Beard Flower

Salsify

Salsify

Crested Cow Wheat

Crested Cow Wheat

Dropwort

Dropwort

Yellow Wort

Yellow Wort

 

 

 

 

 

Knapweed

Knapweed

 

Toadflax

Toadflax

 

 

 

 

 

Tufted Vetch

Tufted Vetch

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s been a lot of “flower namedropping” but you don’t need names to just enjoy the flowers for what they are. However if you want to take things further there are some excellent photographic publications available to help you along.

Most of the pictures are taken whilst walking our dogs; walking rather than running gives you time to observe, note and take photos and it keeps you just as fit.

ROADSIDE VERGES
As a footnote to the last blog, here are some examples of why verges should not be cut. All three photos were within 4m of uncut verge, I rest my case

Pyramidal Orchid

Pyramidal Orchid

Ladies Bedstraw

Ladies Bedstraw

Ringlet

Ringlet

 

More flowers to follow as they appear, hopefully cluster bell flower, nettle leafed bell flower, hare bells and helleborine orchids in the woods