Archive for “scarlet tiger moth”

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

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Scarlet Tigers – annual update

Posted in "Butts Piece", insects, oxfordshire with tags , , , , on 27 June 2015 by bramblejungle

Scarlet Tiger (Callimorpha dominula)

The addition of a few trees at the site doesn’t seem to have reduced the extent of the comfrey or the numbers of scarlet tigers, which are beginning to appear in significant numbers; the first I saw this year was on 22 June. Larvae and adults are following the usual pattern: larvae from late March, adults as soon as the weather is warm after mid June. Without more accurate observations and other data – soil temperature, for example – I can’t deduce much except for the obvious effect of 2013’s cold spring, but I’ll keep an eye on them.
Scarlet tigers - data

This year’s Scarlet Tigers

Posted in "Butts Piece", insects, oxfordshire, photography, wildlife with tags , , on 17 March 2015 by bramblejungle

I’ve been keeping an eye on the local scarlet tiger moth colony for a few years now, and last year I collated the dates that the larvae and adults emerged. Except for the very cold spring of 2013 they are quite consistent – caterpillars mid to late March, moths early to mid June.

This year there’s not as much comfrey (food for larvae, nectar for adults) as usual – I think the nearby allotment-holders have been digging it up and planting bulbs instead – but it’s resilient (should that be “invasive”?) stuff, and the few shoots I found are already full of holes, with several scarlet tiger moth caterpillars busily munching at them. With luck, there will be many more caterpillars in a week or two, and a good crop of moths in June. It’s a pity the caterpillars don’t eat daffodils!

Scarlet Tiger Moth (Callimorpha dominula) larva

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)

Scarlet tigers

Posted in "Butts Piece", insects, oxfordshire, photography, wildlife with tags , , , on 1 April 2012 by bramblejungle

Scarlet Tiger Moth (Callimorpha dominula) caterpillar
Last week there were quite a few Scarlet Tiger Moth caterpillars at Butts Piece. Today I found one; perhaps last night’s frost killed the earliest of them, or perhaps they went to ground and will emerge when it gets warmer – I’ll keep an eye on them.

Spring again!

Posted in "Butts Piece", birds, insects, photography, wildlife with tags , , , , on 24 March 2012 by bramblejungle

Peacock butterfly
Almost exactly a year ago I saw chiffchaffs and scarlet tiger moth caterpillars; today I spotted the first peacock butterfly I’ve seen this year, along with several brimstones; at Butts Piece there were two chiffchaffs and numerous scarlet tiger moth caterpillars, in exactly the same locations as before, and once again the air was full of the song of wrens, dunnocks, greenfinches…

This year’s Scarlet Tigers

Posted in "Butts Piece", insects, oxfordshire, photography, wildlife with tags , , , on 18 June 2011 by bramblejungle

Scarlet Tiger Moth (Callimorpha dominula)
Nature’s timing is just right for these moths: in March, the caterpillars munched the comfrey into oblivion. Now it’s regrown and is flowering, the moths are emerging to feed on the nectar.
Scarlet Tiger Moth (Callimorpha dominula)

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