30 Days Wild – Day 4

I started the day by emptying the moth trap at work and then at Blashford, between them there were three species of hawk-moth, privet, pine and eyed. The still conditions meant that there were  a few more micro moths than on some recent nights. A number were Tortrix moths.

Tortrix

Grey Tortrix species

There are several grey Tortrix moths a number of which cannot be identified with certainty without rather closer inspection than can be done in a photograph.

another Tortrix

Another grey Tortrix moth

Luckily some are rather easier, such as this one Apotomis turbidana.

Apotomis turbidana

Apotomis turbidana

Blashford has a lot of nectar sources for insects at the moment, one of the best in hemlock water dropwort.

hemlock water dropwort

hemlock water dropwort

In the shadier wooded areas there are stands of foxglove, not as accessible as the dropwort for many smaller insects, but still great for bumble bees.

foxglove

foxgloves

Back at home I was pleased to see the first wild carrot now in flower, like a lot of the Umbellifers it is a great nectar source for lots of smaller insects.

wild carrot

wild carrot

As the carrot is starting to flower the yellow rattle is coming to and end, with just a few still flowering.

yellow rattle

yellow rattle

I was going to feature my emperor moth caterpillars this evening, but then I came across a very fine mullein moth caterpillar eating figwort.

mullein moth caterpillar

mullein moth caterpillar

I also saw that one of the brimstone caterpillars on my alder buckthorn is now very well grown, hopefully they will get to pupate this year, last year they all got eaten just before they changed.

brimstone caterpillar

brimstone caterpillar

30 Days Wild – Day 3

After the sunniest and one of the driest springs on record today it finally rained! I felt obliged to have a little walk about in it, not to get soaking wet, but just to experience the feeling, the sound of the raindrops, the smell of the dampening vegetation and witness the toning down of the colours. I bet I was not the only person to have gone out to get the feel of rain today, we might complain about it but we miss it when it is away for too long.

ox-eye daisy with rain

ox-eye daisy clinging onto the rain

Many plants have water repellent leaves, which result in beads of water and others hold the drops with hairy leaves. The leaves of perforated St John’s-wort are obviously very good at this, holding large droplets.

water on perf St John's wort

Perforated St John’s-wort

As it rained, even if lightly, pretty much all day, I got few pictures at Blashford, but by evening it had stopped and the garden offered the chance of pictures of two species of butterflies, a brimstone,

brimstone

brimstone

and large white, one of a few on dame’s violet.

large white

large white

As you will have noticed both are the caterpillars of butterflies rather than the adults, it was not really the weather for adult butterflies.