Wednesday, 28 July 2010

More butterflies

Some more photos of the species currently in the garden:

Red admiral:


Holly blue:

Green-veined white:


Comma:

Just goes to show

To all those caterpillar squashers out there...

I left our big white verbascum (I don't know which species it is) to be decimated by the mullein moth caterpillars earlier in the year. They must have eaten about a third of the total leaf area and chewed through the central flower stem.

This is a close up of some of the leaves six weeks ago (a week or so before the worst damage was done):


one of the cute culprits:


and the verbascum today:

It's flowered better this year than any other - probably as a result of the main stalk being completely severed. Just goes to show that killing the little munchers isn't always in the best interests of the plant (though I admit our large white caterpillar vs Brussels sprouts episode a couple of years ago didn't go so well for the sprouts!)

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Common blue

Half an hour after commenting that the local garden centre had common blue butterflies and we did not I spotted this one at Frog End:

Doing the rounds

video

(please ignore the sound of sawing in the background!!)

The Big Butterfly Count

Right on time for the Big Butterfly Count the garden is suddenly filled with them.

Our list for the 15 minutes included the following species:

small white
large white
holly blue
brimstone
peacock
comma
small tortoiseshell
speckled wood

No gatekeepers, skippers or meadow browns today, but given how few of them there are about I think that's pretty representative.

Brimstone on field scabious:

Peacock on buddleia:

Small tortoiseshell:

Holly blue on hemp agrimony:

You can submit your butterfly count here

Since we did the count this morning we've had a red admiral and our first ever common blue in the garden. Suddenly it's not seeming that bad a year for butterflies at Frog End.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Species Surveys 2010

I've decided to survey the insects present in the garden over the next few days / weeks (depending on the weather and how busy I am). Of course I won't manage to survey everything and I suspect that there are many families that I simply won't get round to, but I shall try to at least begin species lists for the bees, wasps and flies, and to add to the very short lists I currently have for beetles, bugs, moths and hoverflies.

I took a lot of photos today and it's going to take a long time to identify most of the species - particularly as I don't know any bee species, but I can immediately add these two species to the lists for Frog End:

Two-spot ladybird:

Meadow brown butterfly:

There were two really exciting finds of the day:

1) Two southern hawker larvae in the pond:

Southern hawkers have oviposited in the pond both last summer and the summer before, but I'd never previously managed to find any larvae in the pond.

2) This wonderful rove beetle. At least I think it's a rove beetle. It was just sitting there on a buddleia leaf. I've never seen anything like it in the garden before - it was huge!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Out came the sun

After a few days of urgently needed rain the sun came out again this afternoon and with it came the insects:

Harlequin ladybird on Achillea cerise queen:


Hoverfly (I think it's Syrphus ribesii) on Rudbeckia hirta gloriosa:


I'm not sure which species this is:

Azure damselfly on field scabious:

The common wasps love the Persicaria amplexicaulis:



After a poor start to the summer I've seen several species of butterfly in the garden over the last couple of weeks including small whites, large whites, speckled woods, blues (they never settle so I can't tell which species), gatekeepers, ringlets (a new species for Frog End), small skippers, commas and this peacock: