Archive for moths

Scarlet Tigers – annual update

Posted in "Butts Piece", insects, oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , , , on 26 June 2016 by bramblejungle

Despite a wet June, the Scarlet Tigers are back; not many yet, but there’s plenty of comfey (buzzing with bumblebees when it’s not raining) if any more emerge. Meanwhile these two are working on next year’s population.

Scarlet tiger mothsstm graph1

Scarlet Tigers

Posted in "Butts Piece", insects, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , , , on 18 June 2014 by bramblejungle

The Butts Piece Scarlet Tiger Moth colony produced a good crop of caterpillars in April, and as expected the adults are starting to appear:
Scarlet tiger

Here’s a graph showing the emergence of larvae and adults over the last few years: it’s not altogether scientific as my observations are weekly at best, but it certainly shows the impact of last year’s cold spring. This year’s rain does not seem to have affected the timing.

Scarlet tigers at Butts Piece


End of Summer

Posted in garden, insects, oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , , , , on 29 September 2013 by bramblejungle

Moths and earwigs are finishing off the blackberries

Herald (Scoliopteryx libatrix)The Snout (Hypena proboscidalis)Earwig (Forficula auricularia)

Ladybirds are preparing to hibernate

There are caterpillars,
CaterpillarStill munching
Liaison dangereuseWalnut orb-weaver (Nuctenea umbratica)
and all kinds of fungi
Shaggy Parasol (Chlorophyllum rhacodes)Field mushroomsFungusBrown roll-rim (Paxillus involutus)

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.

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!


Posted in garden, insects, oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , , , on 28 July 2012 by bramblejungle

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
It seems generally accepted that the long wet spell has had an impact on many species, especially invertebrates, and butterfly numbers are low – surveys like Butterfly Conservation’s Big Butterfly Count will help to provide an assessment. Some species are in evidence, and at last I’m seeing a few Red Admirals – presumably recent arrivals from central Europe – along with increasing numbers of Meadow Browns, Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina), fMeadow Brown (Maniola jurtina), m?
GatekeepersGatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus)Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus)
and the occasional CommaComma (Polygonia c-album)
A few migrant Silver-Y moths have turned up, tooSilver Y (Autographa gamma)
Let’s see what August brings.


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)

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