Hawkmoths and Butterflies

Privet Hawkmoth and Elephant Hawkmoth

Its always a thrill finding Hawkmoths in the moth trap and I would defy anyone not to be impressed with this most beautiful Privet Hawkmoth. It’s really rather enormous:


Here is another distinctive moth, called Snout for obvious reasons:


Appearing now in the meadows are the day-flying Burnet moths. I think this one is a Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet (five red spots on each side. We also get Six-Spot Burnet here as well):


Three new species of Butterfly have appeared in the last few days. Here is a Large Skipper:


The Meadow Browns are starting to flap around:


Finally, this extremely powerful flyer – the Painted Lady:



This species cannot over-winter in the UK and this Lady will have migrated here from North Africa amazingly. She will lay eggs on Thistles (plenty of those here for her to chose from) which will become caterpillars, pupae and then new butterflies and these will travel to Africa at the end of the summer.

Still on the subject of insects, how about this Tiger Crane Fly (Nephrotoma flavescens)?



That’s not a sting at the end of her abdomen but egg-laying equipment.

A Pyramidal Orchid has raised its head above the parapet. This appears to be the only one here this year unfortunately, its very variable:


My favourite meadow plant is starting to come onto flower, the Greater Knapweed:


Its also a favourite of many bees, butterflies, beetles and moths. This includes the Marbled White Butterfly that, in previous years, has seemed to time its appearance to co-incide with this plant coming into flower. Not seen any Marbled Whites yet but I’m sure they will be here soon.

Apparently Slow Worms can live for a very long time – forty to fifty years, would you believe. In fact, the record is held by one Slow Worm in Copenhagen Zoo that lived to 54. Maybe they do not reach this age in the wild but this bulky one that has been heating up under one of our reptile sampling squares for the previous few mornings has to be a fair old age to have got quite this large:


I would like to finish today with a few photos from the trail cameras over the last little while. Here are the Grey Partridge again, still loving the seed that we are putting down on the Turtle Dove strip:

Trail camera

Trail camera

A nice photo of a Fox cub:


And the heart-warming sight of all five badgers contentedly munching peanuts in harmony. They stayed there for ages, all getting along together nicely:




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