Sunday, July 29, 2007

Garden stuff


This photo was a bit lucky... After tea, I went for a wander round the garden and to mow the lawn (this is virtually a full-time job in itself). I was trying to get photos of the bees on the mallow flowers...

... when I saw some Swallows flying over. As I looked up, I saw a Hobby flying in the opposite direction, not very high up. As I already had the camera to hand - and switched on - I managed a few shots.

Looking at the brownish wings, I think it's a first-summer bird. Though I may be wrong. That means it hatched last year, went all the way to Africa, crossing the Sahara, and has come back again. They mostly eat small birds and largeish insects (eg. dragonflies).

Talking of dragonflies, there was a Brown Hawker in the garden yesterday morning, and a Southern Hawker this afternoon.


Red Admirals seem to be out today in good numbers

Darren saw SIX rabbits on the lawn yesterday!

Up to seven Peacocks were in the garden today, on the Buddleia or sunning themselves

Meadow Browns still around - this was one of the neater ones

Dusky Sallow moth - perhaps one of the two trapped on Friday night

photos taken with Canon EOS 30D, EF 300mm f/4L IS USM

Privet Hawkmoth

Lately I've been inspired by John Wright's blog, which showcases his considerable talent as a naturalist, photographer and artist.

I went out into the garden to photograph butterflies when I spotted this Privet Hawkmoth hiding on the back fence, out of the wind. I knew it would sit dead still so I got my paints and some paper, and had a go at painting it.


In recent weeks, two rabbits have started coming into the garden. So far, they've been good, cutely nibbling the seed-heads off long blades of grass, though I did spot them chasing each other around yesterday. I hope this isn't the start of bad behaviour.

As long as they keep their teeth off what's left of my vegetables and flowers, they're very welcome.

photos taken with Canon EOS 30D, EF 300mm f/4L IS USM

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Moth trapping

Poplar Grey
  • Brown-line Bright-eye: 3
  • Buff Arches: 1
  • Buff Footman: 1
  • Clouded Border: 1
  • Common Footman: 5
  • Common Rustic: 10
  • Dark Arches: 6
  • Dingy Footman: 6
  • Dusky Sallow: 2
  • Flame Shoulder: 1
  • Large Yellow Underwing: 3
  • Lesser Swallow Prominent: 1
  • Mother of Pearl: 2
  • Nut-tree Tussock: 1
  • Peppered Moth: 1
  • Poplar Hawkmoth: 2
  • Privet Hawkmoth: 3
  • Purple Thorn: 1
  • Riband Wave: 2
  • Ruby Tiger: 2
  • Scalloped Oak: 2
  • Scarce Footman: 1
  • Silver Y: 3
  • Small Magpie: 3
  • Smoky Wainscot: 7
  • Swallow-tailed Moth: 2
  • The Clay: 1
  • The Drinker: 3
  • The Rustic: 1
  • The Uncertain: 20
  • White Satin Moth: 2
  • Willow Beauty: 1
  • Yellow-tail: 1
Ran the trap all night for the first time. Quite cool and breezy by morning. John came round to help with IDs.

photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


We were standing at the kitchen sink when this Wren started singing from the washing-line post just outside.

photos taken with Canon EOS 30D, EF 300mm f/4L IS USM, through kitchen window glass

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Summer's here!

Lunchtime today finally felt like summer. The sun was out - for once - and so were the insects. It's about time, too.



Small Red-eyed Damselfly

Comparison between Small Red-eyed (left) and Red-eyed Damselflies

Red Admiral


Migrant Hawker

Common Blue Damselfly


photos taken with Canon EOS 30D, EF 300mm f/4L IS USM

Monday, July 23, 2007

Saturday, July 21, 2007


The Drinker - male

The Drinker - female

Black Arches

Dark Arches

Brown-line Bright-eye

Riband Wave

Poplar Grey

the unidentified

photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Dragonfly Day

Southern Hawker, freshly emerged and still drying out

Ruddy Darter


Common Darter

Common Darters mating

Spot the damselfly...

At The Lodge today, I saw:
  • Small Red-eyed Damselfly
  • Red-eyed Damselfly
  • Common Blue Damselfly
  • Blue-tailed Damselfly
  • Banded Demoiselle
  • Emperor
  • Migrant Hawker
  • Southern Hawker
  • Ruddy Darter
  • Common Darter
  • Four-spotted Chaser
I missed the Brown Hawker, though...

photos taken with Canon EOS 30D, EF 300mm f/4L IS USM

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Tonight's sunset. Taken at 9.50 pm

photos taken with Canon EOS 30D, EF 300mm f/4L IS USM

Moth trapping

Last night we had our inaugural moth-trapping session in the garden. Expert mothologists [I just made that word up] Mark 'Wardy' Ward and John 'John Day' Day came round with a moth trap and, after a fine meal at the pub, we set it up and waited to see what would come in.

There was a lot of this - standing around, trying not to get blinded by the mercury vapour bulb

The moth trap is just a box with a bright lightbulb in it. Moths are attracted to the light, of course, and then take shelter in the empty eggboxes which you put inside. Either that, or they bomb around in a kamikaze fashion.

It started drizzling, so we had to pack up the trap (the bulb might have exploded). We IDd most of the moths there and then, and let them go, but kept a few back for photography in the morning. The pretty/interesting ones spent the night in pots in the fridge before release.

Lime Hawk-moth. Not the prettiest picture, but you get an idea of scale

Poplar Hawk-moth. Not as pretty as the Lime, but a mighty impressive beast

Other moths were smaller but it's not all about size...

Scarce Silver-lines. Described as 'local', this got John and Mark excited...

Swallow-tailed Moth

Peppered Moth (camouflaged to blend in with lichen)

Peach Blossom

Small Magpie

The Drinker

Darren accidentally snorted a small insect

Here's an alphabetical list of what we caught:
  • Brimstone
  • Buff Arches
  • Burnished Brass
  • Clouded Border
  • Clouded Silver
  • Common Carpet
  • Common Footman
  • Common Rustic
  • Common Wainscot
  • Dot Moth
  • Double Square-spot
  • Drinker, The
  • Flame Shoulder
  • grass moth sp.
  • Large Yellow Underwing
  • Lime Hawkmoth
  • Mother of Pearl
  • Pale Prominent
  • Peach Blossom
  • Poplar Grey
  • Poplar Hawkmoth
  • Pyrausta sp.
  • Riband Wave
  • Scarce Silver-lines
  • Small Magpie
  • Snout, The
  • Swallow-tailed Moth
  • Uncertain, The
  • Wax Moth
  • Yellow Shell
Visit UK Moths for more information about all the species

photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995