Butterflies and Moths

The no mow section of the garden continues to pay dividends, with several garden firsts this week.

I was luck enough to see this Common Blue butterfly

A Small Skipper has been flying around too

And a gorgeous Ringlet

The grass is home to some ragwort and that is now covered with caterpillars of the Cinnabar moth. This means more Cinnabars next year :-)

The moths have also been putting on a show in the trap too. There has been some very busy nights!

Burnished Brass

Rosy Footman

Yellow tail, I do like a fluffy moth

Not to be outdone the hedgehogs are everywhere at the moment! 5 or 6 individuals at a time. It's amazing how the adults can differ in size!

I attempted to take a photo of hoverflies in flight, that's not easy! This is my best effort

The rest of my time has been taken up trying to get all my records up to date and everything ID'd. Nearly there so hopefully I can report some totals next week. I guess that depends on how nice the weather is though :-)

Moth Night

This weekend was the annual running of Moth Night. It's designed to get people more interested in moths with lots of events around the country. If you've seen any of my blog posts before, you'll know I need little excuse to put the moth trap on, so on it went! Thursday night (the first night of the 3 days) was perfect mothing conditions. The great thing about moth traps is the excitement in the morning opening it up and seeing what you've got. It's just like being a kid at Christmas opening up your presents :-) With so many moths in Britain (around 2500) there's always new ones to be found. It's amazing how many you get in a suburban garden!

In all we trapped 236 moths of 70 species. We had a lot of the usual suspects I've posted before including Poplar and Elephant hawkmoth plus a some new ones. Here are some of the highlights

Clouded Magpie

Dark Arches

Sharp Angled Carpet

Ghost Moth

Celypha striana

Dichrorampha petrivella

Mother of Pearl

Coronet

Dagger Agg.

Lychnis

Gothic (his name is Robert ;-) )

Anania coronata

Bramble Shoot Moth

Eudonia lacustrata

Pammene fasciana

Spectacle and Bright Line Brown Eye

Peach Blossom

Single Dotted Wave

Leopard Moth

And this one is totally avoiding ID so if anyone has any ideas, please help :-)

All in all a great haul! If you've never tried moth trapping, find an event near you or give it a go yourself. I blogged a while ago about my original diy moth trap and how I made it. It's here if you want a look or a go yourself – http://www.lilacgrove.co.uk/diy-moth-trap/

If you took part don't forget to log your sightings!

They are not just brown and boring, some of the colours and designs are incredible!

 

Hatchings

It appears to have been a week of hatching here.

The Robin eggs have hatched! They appeared to hatch on Friday. Not sure how many there are yet though, it's quite difficult to tell from the photo. It looks like there are at least 3 to me.

The Eyed hawkmoth eggs have also hatched so I've added some cut up willow leaves for them to munch on. They are very small at the moment but show their spikes quite well.

The garden has been buzzing with insects, with lots to ID. This leafcutter bee was fascinating to watch as she sealed up one of the tubes on the bug hotel.

The cinnabar moths are still hanging around in the long grass of the no mow area

The hawthorn hedge is covered in the fine webs of the caterpillars of the hawthorn sawfly.

Obviously hedeghogs are visiting every night and I've discovered 2 new ones this week

More good news came from dad this weekend. He's got a hedgehog in his garden too! In true Richardson style it now has it's own feeding station!

 

No Mow Pays Off

For the last two years I haven't being mowing, just strips so there are paths to walk around the garden. It's now really paying off with an increase in the numbers and variety of insects and wildflowers in the garden. We've had lots of new species of moths so far this year. The benefits are amazing and it looks stunning!

There are some gorgeous flowers appearing

Cinnabar Moth – now quite common in the garden, I hadn't seen one here since 2004!

We also had our first Common Blue Damselfly in the long grass

On a bug nite, the bug hotel was looking a bit ramshackled so it's had a makeover. It even has a hedgehog feeding station in the bottom! The bumblebee box is also being used by tree bumblebees!

There have been lots of bees and wasps using it.

Leafcutter bee – Megachile centuncularis

Another leafcutter bee – Megachile ligniseca

There were also some interesting solitary wasps, but I'm not sure what they are yet.

The moths have been coming thick and fast.

The best was this Blomer's Rivulet, a nationally scarce species.

The Scorched Wing was also amazing!

Small Yellow Wave

Common Emerald

Latticed Heath

Clay

We've had another Eyed Hawkmoth, and she very kindly left me some eggs. I'm going to attempt to to raise them

On other matters, the robin is still sitting tight, they should hatch this week, it must be really hot for her sitting there.

The garden is really busy with hedgehogs. In this hot weather the first thing they are doing is drinking. It just shows how important it is to put out fresh water every night.

 

Another Nest and Some Hawks

The Robin has definitely decided to nest again! A day or two after the chicks fledged, she came and pulled out some of the old nest, and then made another cup. I wasn't sure that she would nest again so late and in the same place but then on Friday, she seemed to sit tight. Surprisingly there are 4 eggs and she is incubating full time again!

The hedgehogs continue to visit regularly, with at least one in the garden all through the night. Still not sure where they are spending the day though.

One of the side benefits of letting the garden grow wild (more on this another time) is the increase in the insects, and most noticeably the moths. So far this year we have recorded 3 hawkmoths that we have never had before.

The latest of these is the wonderful Small Elephant

We've also had the Elephant Hawkmoth this week

You can see here why one is the Small!

Another new one for the garden is the Alder Kitten

We've also had a Cinnabar visit, we haven't had one in the garden since 2006!

Green Silver Lines

Swallowtail Moth

Two shades of Lobster Moth. I would love to find the catapillars of these.

The face really reminds me of Highland Cattle! Furry!

Female Ghost Moth

Now, who said moths were brown and boring!

There's also been a lot of ladybirds around, with the first sighting of 14 spot here. This leaf appeared to be quite popular for 'certain' ladybird activities!

The weather looks good for the rest of the week, so hopefully some more nice new insects!
One last reminder, in this lovely hot weather, please put out some fresh water for hedgehogs and other wildlife, it can be a life saver!
 

 

 

 

More Fledging

After exactly 14 days the robins have fledged. All of a sudden they decided to go on Thursday lunchtime. One decided it would return after an hour, but left again shortly afterwards.

Shall I go?

A video of them leaving (and returning, then going again!)

I left the camera up for a couple of days and interestingly the female returned and pulled half the nest out. She has then proceeded to make a new nest, not sure whether she is going to go for another brood so I've left the camera in just in case.

The blue tit parents have brought the fledglings back to the garden. There are at least 2, but they stay so well hidden in the foliage it's hard to tell.

The hedgehogs are still very active all night, the noises in the garden are wonderful :-)

The moth trap has been getting busier too this week.

The highlight though was this stunning Green Arches

I've also managed to find a few more new insects this week

The lovely lacewing – Chrysopa perla

And my first 10 spot ladybird

I'm still trying to ID every from the garden bioblitz last week, nearly there, then I'll do a blog on it :-)

 

Fledged

The blue tits have left! Tuesday lunch time they decided it was time to go. Not the most successful fledging I've seen but they all made it out and to safety. Some fluttered, some dropped like stones, one even had to be helped from the pond when it realised it wasn't a duck! I've heard them calling from from the woods behind us, but I haven't seen them since, hopefully the parents will bring them back to the garden soon.

It was looking cramped

Some videos of them going

I also set the camera up to take pics automatically of them leaving

First look at the world

Parent tempting a chick out

Mum!

Should I stay or should I go?

Oops

Nothing to look at here, all under control

This one needed a close eye kept on it, didn't want magpies or cats to grab it. Also had to save it from the pond

And then there were none

Good luck little ones!

The robin nest has been progressing well, it's hard to believe how much they've grown, we can now see them on the cams

The hedgehogs are visiting in numbers with new ones being seen quite often

 

The weekend was spent bioblitzing the garden, lots of species found, but not all ID'd yet. That will have to wait for another post.

Finally, we had two spectacular new moths to the garden

Eyed Hawkmoth

Lime hawkmoth

What else can you say but wow!!!

 

Nest Updates

The Robin chicks have hatched! We’re not entirely sure how many chicks there are but there are at least 4. I managed to sneak in to get a quick photo of them.

This is some highlights of them hatching, some interesting behaviour.

The male seemed unsure what they were!

The blue tit chicks have grown! They will fledge in the next day or so.

The weather has been awful with floods around here and the parents have had a hard time but they have coped admirably, however they did look a bit soggy on times :-)

There has been a lot of wing exercising today!

The hedgehogs are always in the garden, right from the crack of dusk! Lots of times they appear together with differing results!

A few more things to report on bug I think they can wait for another post.

 

Growing Chicks, Sitting Robin and A Little Thorn

The best find of the week was spotted by my wife as it flew into the house. It turned out to be a Little Thorn, listed as nationally scarce, so a nice one to get.

The blue tits have been groing rapidly. The parents are very busy bringing in a constant stream of food. Unfortunately 2 chicks died on Saturday night, but hopefully that means the others have a better chance now.

The progress has been rapid!

I've managed to capture the parents entering the box in slo-mo

The bird table has produced some nice footage

I've also found a robin nest. She's decided to take up a box I've had up for 5 years! She has been sat on eggs since Tuesday, I have no idea how long she was sat on the eggs (6 of them) before I found her, so don't know when they will hatch.

It's been busy again with all the hedgehogs coming in and the PiTrailCam has got some nice footage

The moth trap catches have suddenly increased with a lot of new moths for the year. A great variety from the tiny to the huge!

Tiny

Huge – Poplar Hawkmoth

Coxcomb Prominent – looks like a bit of wood

Pale Prominent – another bit of wood!

Pale Tussock – fluffy

Least Black Arches

Willow Beauty

White Ermine – a stunner

Chinese Character – a bird poo mimic, amazing camouflage

Scalloped Hazel

Clouded-bordered brindle – melanic form

And finally a tiny weevil, only about 3mm long but so iridescent. I still need to ID this one.

Let's see what this week brings, will the blue tits fledge? Will the robins hatch? My guess is no and yes! We'll see if I'm right next time :-)

 

Hatching

The weather has been pretty gruesome this week. Gales and rain, so things have been quite slow. The major news however was the hatching of the Blue Tit eggs.

They hatched on Thursday and have grown very quickly!

A total of 8 hatched from what I can tell.

The video of the hatching is fascinating, you can clearly see the female eating the eggs, a valuable source of calcium!

This latest video shows how much they have grown

The weather has made it very hard work for the parents but they have done a great job so far.

The hedgehogs are spending most of the night snuffling around the garden. The other night one of the females had a suitor, she didn't seem very impressed!

There have also been a few more raspberry pi experiments. I've been trying to capture some slo-mo, but not totally successful so far

Let's hope this week is a bit kinder with the weather!