Hummingbird hawkmoth

There was a hummingbird hawkmoth right outside our back door this afternoon. Amazing how it hovered still enough to take a fairly crisp photo, with the wings just a blur. Advertisements

Southern hawker

A brilliant green dragonfly cruising over the pond – a southern hawker. She was perfectly camouflaged (top picture) in dappled shade while depositing her eggs. There was also a very pretty marmalade hoverfly (Episyrphus balteatus) on flowers at the edge of the pond. This is one of few species of flies that can crush and eat…

Plymouth

A lovely selection of flowers at Mount Wise Redoubt, a part of Plymouth I hadn’t seen before. Many bushes of spiny restharrow (because its tough stems would stop or ‘arrest’ a harrow), with teasels, knapweed and field scabious. I think the knapweed is lesser knapweed but a less common variant that has divided petals like…

Silver-washed fritillary

A beautiful and large butterfly in the garden yesterday. A silver-washed fritillary, according to the lovely people at iSpot Nature. Although it is the most common fritillary, populations are struggling because its favourite habitat of woodland glades has declined drastically since the 1960s, in part because deciduous woodland has been replaced by conifer plantation and in…

Garden wildlife

Lucy found some eggs on a bay leaf. After a night in the kitchen, they had hatched into tiny beetles, each only a millimetre or two long. They are common green shield bugs apparently. A gold-ringed dragonfly by the pond, and a white plume moth. Ringlet butterfly

Ragged robin

A single flower of ragged robin has appeared in the boggy patch at the edge of the pond. I had scattered some seeds there from ragged robin in mum and dad’s field. I’m pleased I restrained myself from pulling up the seedlings, which look like slightly twisted willowherb.

Sunny garden

Among the yellow rattle is a single bulbous buttercup. Even though it is common according to my book, I haven’t knowingly noticed one before. Its defining feature is downward pointing sepals but the leaves also look different from those of creeping buttercup, which tend to be mottled and not softly downy like these. At soil level, the stem…

Evening in the garden

My camera insisted on using flash on a bright evening, with some nice results. There is a wild patch under the sycamore tree where red campions are thriving, and also the last few early dog violets.

Moorhaven to Green Lane

I haven’t done this walk for a while and the big change was clumps of three-nerved sandwort at the side of the Moorhaven drive. On the sunny southern verge just past Leigh Lane, lots of shining cranesbill and ransoms, greater chickweed, and creeping buttercups. Past the golf course, there are stunning displays of bluebells on…

Saints’ days

Lots of bluebells at Andrew’s Wood nature reserve on St George’s day, some brimstone butterflies, and a bloody nosed beetle slowly walking across the path. Daldinia concentrica helps decompose ash trees. This fungus is called King Alfred’s cakes after the king who was left minding the cakes baking in a cottage where he was hiding…

Owl pellet

We found an owl pellet on the trampoline. Inside was a myriad of tiny bones and teeth. Insects were enjoying the sunshine in the garden: a bee fly, red admiral and a bumble bee were those that stayed still long enough for a photo. The drone fly looks a lot like a honey bee but…

Pond in April

Lucy and I were trying to film pond skaters with her waterproof camera but could not get a well focused shot. The longer we looked though, the more we saw. Lots of tiny diving beetles, a small water boatman and, best of all, lots of caddis fly larvae in jewel-like cases made from pieces of…