Tag Archives: Butterfly Count

Moths and Mistakes

It’s time to move up a gear. I’ve been idling for a few weeks and time is pressing. I have one deadline on the 25th and three at the end of the month, with very little to offer at the moment. It’s the same old problem, I can’t work until a deadline threatens.

Poplar Hawk Moth – scale is in inches

However, life can’t be all rush, and this is what I found in the vestibule of the shop this morning. The light was not quite so cool and blue, but I had the camera set up for silver coins. It’s a Poplar Hawk Moth and is quite a size, as you can see from the scale in one of the photos. I put it outside and it flew away to seek cover.

I tried restoring the colour, but the available filters didn’t really work so in the end I left it.

Wollaton Park is close by, and there are quite a few poplars, so I suspect if you had a moth trap out there would be plenty about.

Poplar Hawk Moth

They aren’t the best of shots, but it was early for thinking, and I was half in and half out of the shop. I should have done better, but at least I got some interesting shots. It’s amazing what you see, even in town.

I was tempted to make this my contribution to the Big Butterfly Count, but I don’t think they would be impressed. Julia has already submitted her count from the Gardens, though she found it disappointing – just Gatekeepers, Whites and a Brimstone. It all depends on the day, the weather and the fifteen minute slot you select. It’s like the Bird Count – we always used to count at my Mum and Dad’s when the kids did it, as they had a better selection. We got down one morning and they beckoned us through to the kitchen window – three Jays. They very rarely had one, so we started the count immediately.

Most of the day consisted of packing parcels and loading coins onto eBay.

We had a parcel go missing recently. It was shown as having been delivered, but the recipient said he hadn’t had it. It’s an awkward situation. I don’t want to see the customer lose £50, but I don’t want us to lose £50 either, and if the Post Office says it was delivered what do we do?

As it turns out, we wait for it to be returned as “Not at this address”, which begs the question as to how it can have been marked as delivered and signed for. It arrived back this morning. I’d written the flat number incorrectly. Sometimes these lapses of concentration occur and these days the Post Office doesn’t make the effort it used to do to find addressees. It’s readdressed and back in the post now. Hopefully it will be delivered this time.

 

 

 

Butterflies, Moths, Buddleia and Mint

The Butterfly Count is upon us for 2017 and Julia is preparing  the materials for the group.

We had a preparatory look in the garden on Friday to get some idea of what was about, and had a good result, considering it was a cold day. The buddleia didn’t attract much (possibly because it’s planted in a shady spot) but the mint attracted a lot of pollinators and the Mint Moths. (Mint Moths are only about quarter of an inch across (6mm) in real life – don’t go looking for something the same size as the photo). I didn’t see butterflies on the mint, but they were mainly seen in the area around the mint.

Comma

Mint Moth

Painted Lady

Red Admiral

Speckled Wood

White, Large

There was also an unidentified white, an unidentified brown (probably Meadow Brown or Gatekeeper) and an unidentified brown Skipper.

We need to add a few more plants around the place – more buddleia would be good, and oregano used to attract a lot of butterflies when we were at the Ecocente. Although the Mencap garden isn’t anywhere near as good as the Centre garden for attracting butterflies, it’s still as exciting to try to spot new species and plan to attract more. We have a few buddleia seedlings to donate and I’ll have to persuade Julia to grow oregano.

The last week has been reasonably good in the house garden (which is a bit of a butterfly wasteland), with Small Tortoiseshell, Large White and Orange Underwing moth all seen this week. There are Mint Moths in a herb garden along the street and I live in hope of seeing another Hummingbird Hawk Moth on the Red Valerian like we did (twice) in 2015.

Time to start giving some serious thought to our own garden, after a year of hacking back in 2016.

I’m slightly ambivalent towards buddleia as it’s a non-native species and can be considered a pest. I think it’s best summed up here by Butterfly Conservation – it’s a valuable source of nectar and is OK in gardens. However, it doesn’t feed caterpillars and it can be invasive in the wrong place.

There are other plants to feed butterflies and caterpillars, as this list shows.

Butterfly Count

Just been doing a butterfly count.

Six Red Admirals, the most we’ve ever counted here at one time. Four on the blue buddleia and two on the red one.

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Red Admiral

Five Large Whites. Could probably have made it more if I’d looked in the polytunnel, as there are often six or eight there, but you are supposed to stay in one spot for the count.

Two Small Whites. They seem to prefer the periwinkle to the buddleia.

Two Small Tortoiseshells. It’s not been a great year for them. We did see a lot on the lavender before the count started but they have gone. Traditionally this has been our commonest butterfly (despite population dips elsewhere) but not this year.

One Peacock. Sometimes rivals the Tortoiseshells for numbers but not this year so far.

One Comma. The first of the year. It just goes to show the benefit of taking time to look.

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Comma

It’s not a bad selection, but it’s a strange year for our two commonest butterflies. At least we have a surge in Red Admirals.

Meanwhile there are no Mint Moths about at the moment, despite seeing several early on in the season and there were no Gatekeepers/Meadow Browns flying during the count.

I will try again in the same place this afternoon and see if it makes a difference.