Archive for June, 2012

A good day for kites

Posted in "red kite", birds, flight, oxfordshire, wildlife with tags , on 30 June 2012 by bramblejungle

We often see one or two red kites here, but today there were 12, the largest group I’ve seen here. Watch out if you’re having a barbecue!Red kite

Survivors

Posted in "Butts Piece", insects, oxfordshire, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 23 June 2012 by bramblejungle

Scarlet Tiger moth (Callimorpha dominula)
The Scarlet Tiger moths have emerged at Butts Piece, despite the frost and heavy rain since I saw the caterpillars in April.Scarlet Tiger moth (Callimorpha dominula)
There were only 4 there this morning, but I’ll keep watching to see if numbers reach their usual levels.
This year’s emergence seemed a bit late – but that could just be because they were early last year: here are the dates I’ve seen caterpillars and adults in previous years

Year Caterpillars Adults
2010 11 April 17-26 June
2011 26 March 11-18 June
2012 1-8 April 23 June

(not very scientific – I usually check at weekends, so a few days either way… )

Postscript – 24 June

The sun shone (briefly), and a dozen or so were on the wing.

 Scarlet Tiger moth (Callimorpha dominula)

No scarlet tigers

Posted in "Butts Piece", birds, flight, insects, oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , , , on 17 June 2012 by bramblejungle

Yet. The comfrey is flowering and buzzing with bees, but the scarlet tiger moths haven’t shown up. Either the caterpillars were all washed away in the wet weather, or (I hope) they are just a bit late because it’s been unusually cold. I’ll keep watching.
Apart from butterflies and moths, life seems to be going on as usual, with thick-legged flower beetles on the wild roses at Butts Piece Oedemera nobilis (m) Lacewings on the brambles Green lacewing and a few hoverflies Chrysotoxum cautum? Another nursery-web spider was hunting on the burdock Pisaura mirabilis and I took a snap that I hoped would be a swift in flight. It’s not – it could be a Peregrine Falcon (I’m told that Peregrines sometimes nest on the tower at Didcot power station), or perhaps a Hobby. Please let me know if you can tell what it is. [It’s a Hobby – thanks, Ian Lewington for identifying it]Peregrine?

Small-scale nature

Posted in garden, insects, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , , , , on 10 June 2012 by bramblejungle

While I’m anxiously waiting to see whether the long wet spell has had an impact on the scarlet tiger moths (they started emerging around 11 June last year), there’s been plenty to see at a smaller scale:
Bordered Shieldbugs (Legnotus limbosus) Bordered shieldbug (Legnotus limbosus)
I’ve seen nymphs before but never adults; their preferred food is plants of the Galium family, which includes goosegrass (cleavers) seen here. With the Pied Shieldbug (Tritomegas bicolor) Pied Shieldbug (Tritomegas bicolor) which lives on deadnettle, that makes 8 shieldbug species just in this garden.
Also new to me are the Hairy Spider Weevil (Barypeithes pellucidus) Hairy Spider Weevil (Barypeithes pellucidus)? and the Ivy Deathwatch Beetle (Ochina ptinoides) Ochina ptinoides (Ivy Boring Beetle) Not everything is herbivorous: here are a couple of carnivores:
Green spiderPredator and prey Friends on Flickr tell me this one is probably a Dance Fly eating a leafhopper; just as fascinating as the behaviour of sparrowhawks, but smaller (well, I think so!)

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