Butterflies are out at the park..

Straw Dot (Rivula sericealis)
I had gone to do a Butterfly count at a patch of land just before you get to the park, it's right next to the road, the site of a nursing home. A few years back they pulled it down, cleaned it all up and seeded it with clover, this year the thistles have spread a little more and Mustard plants line the edge.
When I go to the park we have a little walk round, I hope no one buys the plot as it has come a haven for wildlife and the bees like the clover.
 Meadow Brown Butterfly (Maniola jurtina)
Meadow browns and Ringlets are starting to look a little tired, but the Skippers I think have done so well this year, they are everywhere. I still struggle to tell large and small apart. 

Skipper

Spear Thistle (Cirsium vulgare)
On this little patch I recorded..
3 Meadow Brown
3 Ringlet
16 Skippers.

One of the new wild flowers spotted on the edge of the land is Wild Carrot, a sweet little plant and I just love the two little red flowers in the middle of the flower. They are also known by the name
bird's nest, bishop's lace, and Queen Anne's lace.

Wild Carrot (Daucus carota)



By now I had moved onto the park land, I have a little route I follow, I know what lives in what area of the park, were to see the butterflies, birds and wild flowers.

Most of the plants are covered in Cardinal Beetles, often seen locked in a loving embrace.
Cardinal Beetles eat other insects but will eat each other if there is no food available.There is a margin of thistles along the edge of  the grass and in one spot there is always a moth, but it still alludes me, disappearing into the nettles were I can not see it, this is were I noticed this rather large Hoverfly, I have not seen one so big, it was bigger than a bumble bee !


Cardinal beetle

Hoverfly



Black cat
Through the gap of the boggy bit, there is often a black cat sat in the grass, to day it turned out to bring me luck, as I noticed the bright red/orange of the Comma butterfly I saw another butterfly feeding on the thistle. I did recognise it as I have seen a photo of some else were, but could not remember at the time what it was called or anything about it.
 White-letter Hairstreak (Satyrium w-album)
It's a very pretty little thing and was quite happy to sit there while I took photos, in the end I tried to get it on my finger in the hope it would open it's wings so I could take a look, but it just flew of.

White-letter hairstreaks are small butterflies that breed on elm trees. These small butterflies prefer the tops of the trees so are hard to spot and easily missed.
Key identification features of this small brown butterfly are the small hairs located at the base of the wings and the white W-shaped line on the underside of the wing, from which it gains its name.

 Comma (Polygonia c-album)
As I wandered round the park I managed to see my first Small white , Large white and Red admiral. 
Small white (Pieris rapae)

  large white (Pieris brassicae)

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

MOTH TRAP

The moth trap has been out two times this week with very little moths visiting during the night, just a few that are new to the garden list.
Moth number two is I think called Uncertain ! what a name even if it is not the right name, any mothy people out there know what it is ? even iSpot were not helping with this one.


 Beautiful Plume (Amblyptilia acanthadactyla)
Uncertain (Hoplodrina alsines)

and finely last night catch had a black and red Sexton beetle, not the prettiest looking thing as it is covered in small spider mites... 








Comments

  1. I've seen quite a lot of skippers this year too, in the last few weeks (and I always forget how to tell the large from small too!). I've also seen quite a few red admirals. I've not had chance to do the butterfly count yet but hope to do it soon!

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    1. Thanks Louise, Red Admirals, Peacock and the Whites are all starting to come out at the moment, just noticed they have extended the date till the end of Augusts I think.
      Amanda xx

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  2. Well done on the White-letter Hairstreak a really cracking find Amanda :)

    I think your large Hoverfly might be the Hornet-mimic Volucella zonaria? We had one in the garden recently - they are huge!

    Still not getting many moths here although do a few new species for the year. Uncertain, Mottled Rustic and Rustic are all very similar moths (I still struggle with them especially if they are worn). With Uncertain the median area shading passes through the kidney mark and is usually clear and the Antemedial line is well marked whereas with Rustic the antemedial line (the higher one) is just a series of dots and the media area shading is very faint. Another id tip is that on Mottled Rustic the kidney mark is a dark squarish smudge whereas on Uncertain and Rustic the kidney has more of an arch on the bottom edge and looks clearer. The Garden Moth Scheme removed Uncertain and Rustic from their list because they are so easy to confuse. Not sure if its countrywide but round here Uncertain is very common, Rustic less so and Mottled Rustic the least common of the three.

    Having said all that about id I am still not 1005 sure about your moth but I think its Uncertain too!!!

    Lovely informative post Amanda with some great photos :)



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    1. ps Forgot to say thanks for information re: the vase. I have to go to Asda soon to stock up on some soap I can't get elsewhere may well make an extra purchase if they have any there :)

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    2. Thanks RR, I had put the Hoverfly on iSpot as a Hornet Mimic Hoverfly (Volucella zonaria) someone else suggested Hoverfly (Volucella inanis) saying All of the panels on the abdomen are yellow suggesting V. inanis. Which is a Hornet Mimic Hoverfly too, it can get a little confusing naming insects due to the vast variation of these species.
      Thanks for the help with the "Uncertain" moth (still think it's a silly name) I had three in the trap, I think someone mentioned it on Mandy's post, the "light" when taking photos can make such a difference to the photo. It was quite dark when I took the photo and have lightened it up so you can see the markings better, which in turn makes the moth look a lighter brown than it really is. Had a look at Mottled Rustic and yes it is very hard to tell the two apart, condition plays a big part too.

      Got the bee vase some time ago, had a look on the web and sadly says they are not available, have a look though they might be on the sale section...
      Amanda xx

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    3. Interesting about the Hoverfly - you have me wondering now about mine!! Would be interested to know what i-spot say :) Yes, it is a silly name for the moth - no wonder scientists use latin names!! David's id tip is a good one re: difference between Uncertains and Rustics. I'll check the sale section in ASDA - thanks for looking for me :)

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    4. Saw afew more Large Hoverflies at the park, have tweeted you a photo by someone else on Twitter and they come up with different names on there as well...

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  3. Skippers are having a good year aren't they, though if you think it is hard to separate Large & Small Skippers then try ID'ing Small & Essex Skippers!!! I have to admit it took me quite a few years of practice trying to tell Large & Small apart, and even now I am sure I still make mistakes :-)

    The White-letter Hairstreak is a great find and is a species of butterfly I have never seen.

    As Caroline has already written telling Uncertain & Rustic apart is very difficult, especially via photographs, but as a rule of thumb the stronger marked ones are Uncertains whilst the plainer ones are Rustics (Carolines ID tips are much better than mine!). Nice to see the Beautiful Plume, in fact I found one on my kitchen window just a few hours ago :-)

    Kindest regards :-)

    PS. I hope the Sexton beetle didn't smell that bad, some can absolutely stink !!!

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    1. Thanks David, if I get some more will put photos side by side and compare. Have seen some more White-letter Hairstreak at Ben rhydding gravel pits nature reserve, a place you should visit if you are in the area, especially at this time of the year when the butterflies are out. Didn't get to close to the Sexton so not sure if it smelt, not liking the spider mites that they carry..
      Amanda xx

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  4. Awesome collection of butterflies, skippers and insects. Great macro shots. Enjoy your new week ahead!

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    1. Thanks Eilleen, have had a good to days watching Butterflies..
      Amanda xx

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  5. Another great set of images Amanda, well done getting the White-letter Hairstreak, quite a find.

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    1. Thanks Roy, they are quite happy to sit there and let you get close, wish all butterflies were this happy...
      Amanda xx

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  6. You found some beautiful butterflies, and moths, and beetles! I know what you mean about abandoned lots and natural meadows. It's sad to see them dug up and developed when they harbor so much wildlife. If the land is purchased, hopefully the new owners will create a beautiful garden to serve as a haven.

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    1. Thanks PP, they can't build houses on this plot it has to be another nursing home, new one been built up the road so fingers crossed they leave it alone for many years to come.
      Amanda xx

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  7. Beautiful pictures Amanda lovely that you spotted so many butterflies they seem to be few and far between this year. I had a moth fest this weekend - I put up the outdoor umbrella and found four different types hiding in there - they soon flew off once the light hit them but it was nice to find their hiding place.

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    1. Thanks Elaine, I can imagine you would get some lovely moths in your area, might be worth putting a white sheet up and a light to see what flies in ...
      Amanda xx

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  8. Wow! A White Letter Hairstreak!! That's an amazing find. I have yet to see one despite checking our elms this summer! Well done indeed!

    Your Skippers look like Smalls to me- the Larger ones have checkering on their wings that is absent in the Smalls. As to the Uncertain moth, it could also be a Rustic- they are really hard to tell apart. I struggle with them!

    Lovely set of shots as always xx

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    1. Thanks CT, Looks like I have been very lucky to see it at the park, but they must be in my area as I saw another the next day at Ben Riding gravel pits nature reserve which is about four miles down the road (Post coming soon). Skippers are a bit like the moths as well, hard to tell them apart.
      Amanda xx

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  9. Wonderful shots as always ! Great collection !

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    1. Thanks Géraldine B, glad you like my photos...
      Amanda xx

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  10. Wow! You did really well with your butterflies Amanda. I am envious of the white letter hairstreak...never seen one of those around here. I see you are also a moth trapper ;-) ood for you. I am just awaiting delivery of a replacement bulb for mine so that I can fire it up again. Lovely post as always.

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    1. OOOps! Sorry about the missing letter...for some reason the 'G' on my laptop is sticking ;-)

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    2. Thanks JJ, really pleased to find something not many get to see, I often think I'm in the wrong area of the country for wild life, but to day turned out to be a good place to be...
      Amanda xx

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  11. Wow, Amanda, I love the White-letter Hairstreak. What a fruitful time you have been having. The Sexton beetle is extraordinary. We saw a lizard last week - with two ticks, poor thing. Thank you for your comments on my toad post.

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    1. Thanks Carolin, would love to see a Lizard or a snake, we do have them round here but still not managed to spot one.
      Amanda xx

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  12. I love the black cat photo, it looks just like mine. It certainly brought you luck with that wonderful hairstreak! Nice collection of butterflies seen and I think most moths should be called Uncertain!! xx

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    1. Thanks Mandy, the cat was well hidden the dog walked past without knowing which was good. We have started calling some moths other names, but then can't remember their real name ! Dark Arches look like they have a chicken on their back, now known as "Chicken back". And you start to realise there are a lot that look the same !!! which makes I.D so hard...
      Amanda xx

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  13. Thank you, Amanda, for your kind comment. I find I've visited this post before ... and therefore feel I should have felt some bells ringing when my Straw Dot moth appeared this morning! No worries ... I got there in the end, though ours was not such an intricately-patterned specimen as yours.

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    1. Thanks again, nice to come back and have another look, like most moths some have stronger markings than others even in the same species .
      Amanda xx

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