Archive for the ‘Butterflies and Moths’ Category

Corn Bunting

Some wildlife pictures from our recent trip to the West Country

Day one of our trip to Cornwall and Devon saw us making an afternoon stop at the RSPB reserve at Winterbourne Downs. This reserve is on disused farmland and is being allowed to revert to Flower Meadow with additional planting to support seed-eating birds, which have seen a decline due to modern farming techniques. It also supports a population of Stone Curlew, a rare breading bird which is only found in East Anglia and in this area of central England.

Arriving at the reserve we made our way along the old railway bank to the screen overlooking the area where the Stone Curlews are found. We were encouraged by the news that 6 had been counted this morning, but always aware that Stone Curlew are one of the best-camouflaged bird species and once they are lying on the ground it is almost impossible to see them. We spent an hour looking over the fallow field but could not locate any Stone Curlews. Whilst we were there a Corn Bunting called and flew into a  tree behind us. The Corn Bunting is a species which was once common on farmland but which has been very much impacted by the changes in farming.

Corn Bunting.
Photo by Steve Riall ( https://www.flickr.com/photos/sriall/ )

On our way back to the car park, we spotted a Painted Lady on the vegetation and this was the highlight amongst the numerous butterflies that we saw on this sunny afternoon.

Also got some good pictures of Brimstone Butterfly

Video by Paul Dinning ( https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPJXfmxMYAoH02CFudZxmgg )

Found in Southern and Eastern Britain, its recent range expansion has been linked to increasing temperatures.

Male Large White

Male Large White

Female Large White

Female Large White

The large white is one of the commonest butterflies in United Kingdom and is found in most parts of the country. The favourite food plant for its caterpillars are members of the brassica family such as cabbage and brussels sprouts and this has led to its colloquial name ‘the cabbage white butterfly’. Populations of the large white butterfly have held reasonably steady over the last 40 years, during which records have been collected showing a decline of less than 10%. In flight it is easily confused with the small white butterfly, from which it varies only in size and in the markings on the upper wing.

The Orange Tip is the first emerging butterfly of Spring – most other butterflies seen early in spring have hibernated over the winter. It can be seen between mid-April and mid-June as it patrols hedgerows and woodland margins looking for a mate. It is found in England, Wales and Ireland and has been doing well especially in the past decade. Overall numbers are up about 10% on 40 years ago.

These pictures of male Orange Tips were taken at Rutland Water and RSPB Rainham Marshes in April this year. The female lacks the distinct orange colouring and is often mistaken for Small White or Green-veined White.

The Comma is one of our commonest butterflies and easily recognised by the shape of the wings.

Mint Moth

Posted: September 5, 2019 in Butterflies and Moths, Natural History
Tags:

This common moth was once only found in chalk and limestone grassland, quarries, woodland or marshland, but is increasingly being reported from gardens. There are two generations, occurring from mid-April to June and again from July to mid-September. Flies actively in the sunshine and also at night.

Similar to the Gatekeeper, featured yesterday, the Meadow Brown is a common butterfly found in grassland and gardens.

One of the hottest days of the Summer saw Keith and I at the Wetland Centre in West London in the hope of finding some migrant birds. As it was there seemed to have been little evidence of migration with just an early morning report of a Whinchat, which I don’t think was relocated during the day. There was plenty to see however with numerous dragonflies and plenty of butterflies, even if the latter was restricted to 2 species. We also saw a Little Ringed Plover and a Common Lizard.

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata)
Gadwall [sp] (Mareca strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Little Ringed Plover [sp] (Charadrius dubius)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Rock Dove [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Sand Martin [sp] (Riparia riparia)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Chloris chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Dragonflies

Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans)
Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella)
Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta)
Brown Hawker (Aeshna grandis)
Ruddy Darter (Sympetrum sanguineum)

Butterflies

Small White (Artogeia rapae)
Speckled Wood [sp] (Pararge aegeria)

Common Lizard