Archive for August, 2012


Posted in garden, insects, oxfordshire, photography, wildlife with tags , , , on 26 August 2012 by bramblejungle

Back in East Hagbourne, there are Small Tortoiseshell caterpillars on the nettles Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae) larva

According to UK Butterflies they are a bit late, but if fully-grown they should pupate soon and re-emerge in time to hibernate as adults.

Small Tortoiseshell numbers have plummeted in recent years, possibly because of parasitisation by Sturmia bella, a parasitic fly that has recently reached the UK from continental Europe, though it’s not yet clear why the Small Tortoiseshell seems to have suffered more than other species that this fly commonly attacks. The Sturmia bella controversy provides some interesting background, and suggests that this is only part of the reason for the decline.

Holiday photos

Posted in birds, flight, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , on 24 August 2012 by bramblejungle

I’m just back from a few days around Norfolk, including visits to the RSPB reserves at Snettisham and Titchwell Marsh. Nothing to do with Hagbourne, of course, but definitely plenty of wildlife, and more photos from



SpoonbillWall Brown (Lasiommata megera)Oystercatchers


Posted in garden, insects, oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , , , , , on 19 August 2012 by bramblejungle

Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae) The warm weather may be short-lived, but it has brought a few more butterflies, including this Small Tortoiseshell. These are usually common throughout the UK, and overwinter as adults – emerging from hibernation in the spring. This year I haven’t seen any locally until now; I can only guess that the emergent adults stayed under cover in the April rain, but somehow managed to breed to produce the summer adults (one Small Tortoiseshell doesn’t make a summer, but I hope there will be more).
Brimstones have a similar life-cycle, hibernating as adults and producing a new generation in the summer, so it’s good to see a few of these now: Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni)
Many butterflies and moths seen in the UK are migratory, including Red Admirals (see 28 July), and we’re now getting significant numbers of Silver-Y moths, feeding on nectar in the evenings Silver Y (Autographa gamma)

More good signs

Posted in "red kite", garden, insects, oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , , , on 13 August 2012 by bramblejungle

Peacock (Inachis io)
This is certainly proving a poor year for some butterfly species – I haven’t seen any Common Blues (which usually peak around now) or Small Tortoiseshells (should peak in July and again late August), but there are a few Peacocks around now; this is the usual time for a second generation to emerge. Holly Blues (sorry, no photo) are also on the wing – the second brood of the year.
Meanwhile hoverflies and bees seem to be in good shape here, including a few species I haven’t seen before:
Heliophilus trivittatus Heliophilus trivittatus, m.Eristalis intricarius, a bee-mimicking hoverfly (new to me) Eristalis intricarius, f.Slender Mining Bees Lasioglossum calceatum (Slender Mining Bee)Volucella Pellucens, a bumble-bee mimic hoverfly Volucella pellucens And of course there are plenty of red kites. They are mostly looking a bit the worse for wear as they are moulting, so I cheated and took this shot at the Hawk Conservancy Trust near Andover – they are still my favourite British bird of prey Red Kite

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