Archive for butterflies

A bad year for butterflies

Posted in "red kite", birds, garden, insects, oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , , , on 19 August 2016 by bramblejungle

The wettest June recently recorded has been followed locally by low numbers of butterflies, especially small tortoiseshell and peacock. Butterfly Conservation will have a better view of the national picture when they collate the results of the annual count.

Ringlets seem to be an exception, and were doing well in early July

Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus)

Later there were marbled whites on their usual nectar sources (knapweed and thistles)

Marbled White (Melanargia galathea)

There have been one or two red admirals

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

and the occasional peacock, but not the usual numbers.

Peacock (Aglais io)

It’s not all bad news: garden birds have been breeding well, the starling colony is still here, and the skies have been full of swifts, house martins and swallows

Swallow (Hirundo rustica)

Red kites are thriving
Red kite (Milvus milvus)

and ravens – once confined to the western fringes of the UK because of persecution and perhaps pesticides – have made a welcome return.

Raven (Corvus corax)

Not much of a summer…

Posted in "Butts Piece", birds, goldfinch, oxfordshire, photography, wildlife with tags , , , on 17 September 2015 by bramblejungle

…with rubbish weather (remember the August bank holiday?) and smaller numbers of butterflies than usual

Green-veined White (Pieris napi)
Big Butterfly Count part 1
Big Butterfly Count part 2 - Butts Piece
Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus), f.

but breeding conditions for garden birds (blackbirds, robins etc) seem to have been good, and the local goldfinches are thriving.

On a sunny September day, a late red admiral may be a good sign:
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
We’ll have to see what Autumn brings. More rain, probably.

Butterflies and hovers

Posted in "Butts Piece", insects, oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , , , on 4 August 2014 by bramblejungle

The last few weeks have seen the usual comma, peacock, red admiral, meadow brown… in good numbers. Here are some of the others: a Holly Blue with its wings open
Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus)

An Essex Skipper at Butts Piece: these look much like Small Skippers, but have antennae that are black under the tip

Essex Skipper (Thymelicus lineola)

Meanwhile the garden – especially the marjoram patch – has been full of hoverflies (mouse-over the photos for details)

Chrysotoxum verralliHoverfly - Myathropa floreaThick-legged hoverfly (Syritta pipiens)Narcissus Bulb Fly (Merodon equestris)Syrphus ribesii


Early Spring

Posted in "Butts Piece", birds, insects, oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , , , , , on 16 March 2014 by bramblejungle

Spring was nearly a month late last year, after a long cold spell. Things are different this year, with butterflies out of hibernation and scarlet tiger moth caterpillars appearing already. Let’s hope it doesn’t turn cold again!

Comma (Polygonia c-album)Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae)Scarlet tiger moth (Callimorpha dominula) larva

Meanwhile I finally caught up with the elusive local bullfinches (often heard, rarely seen)

Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula)

So far so good

Posted in "Butts Piece", birds, garden, insects, oxfordshire, photography, wildlife with tags , , , , , , on 11 August 2013 by bramblejungle

We won’t know until next year (at the earliest) what damage the cold spring caused, but so far things are not looking too bleak: most of the common summer butterflies have turned up except for migrant Painted Ladies and Hummingbird Hawk Moths; Small Tortoiseshell numbers seem lower than usual.

Here are a few shots taken round about over the last couple of weeks, including Small Skipper and Small Copper butterflies (common, but new to me), Common Blue and Brown Argus butterflies, and a few grasshoppers, bush-crickets and damsel-flies, plus a linnet and a juvenile woodpecker

Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans)

Brown Argus (Aricia agestis)

6-spot Burnet (Zygaena filipendulae)


Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni)

Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus)

Small skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris)?

Marbled White (Melanargia galathea)

Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas)

Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus), f.

Speckled bush-cricket (Leptophyes punctatissima), m.

Linnet (Carduelis cannabina)

Oak Bush-cricket (Meconema thalassinum), f

Field grasshopper (Chorthippus brunneus)

Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus), m

Magpie moth (Abraxas grossulariata)

Green woodpecker (Picus viridis), juv.

Worth waiting

Posted in bumblebee, insects, oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , , , , on 25 July 2013 by bramblejungle

After overnight rain the sun came out – and suddenly the marjoram patch was full of butterflies, bees and hoverflies. Here are a few (plus of course numerous small, large and green-veined whites, and the odd Red Admiral that I didn’t manage to capture):

Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus)

Bees on marjoram

Peacock (Inachis io)

Bees on marjoram


Bees on marjoram

Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina)

Bees on marjoram

Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus)

Bees on marjoram

Better late than never

Posted in "Butts Piece", insects, oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , , , on 12 July 2013 by bramblejungle

I’ve been keeping an eye on the Scarlet Tiger Moth colony at Butts Piece. For several years there have been large numbers of caterpillars on the comfrey in March, and moths towards the end of June. This year – an exceptionally cold Spring – I found a single caterpillar in April, and have not seen the moths at all, until now:

Scarlet Tiger Moth (Callimorpha dominula)
There were five altogether, but I’ll keep watching. At least there is still some evidence of the colony.

Butts Piece is usually a good place for butterflies, but has been disappointing this year. Today, I saw 4 or 5 small tortoiseshells, 3 meadow browns, dozens of ringlets, one marbled white, and this comma:
Comma (Polygonia c-album
Summer has just started!

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