Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Humming-bird Hawkmoth

The Humming-bird Hawkmoth is a migrant to Britain, mainly the southern counties. They visit a large variety of garden flora including Honeysuckle, Lavender and Red Valerian etc.

This particular Humming-bird Hawkmoth was photographed in Malta

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Common Wasp

The Common Wasp [Vespula Vulgaris] is a late flying insect in Britain and flies between July and  November. These particular Wasps can be found around most of the world in counties such as China, Australia, New Zealand, India and Europe.

A female Common Wasp hunting for food/insects for her siblings back at the nest
in late July

A Common Wasp taking a drink from my Garden pond

A fresh Queen Common Wasp in my garden, late October. This Queen will find somewhere to
hibernate for the winter before starting her own colony in the spring.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Small Heath

The Small Heath is commonly found throughout the U.K. in any grassland habitat, fields, roadside verges, woodland clearings etc. And normally spend a large part of their time well down in amongst the vegetation.

A male Small Heath where you would normally find this species

The male is smaller than the female and are quite similar in appearance but not the same.

A male Small Heath showing the undersides of it's wings and,
a rare glimpse of a small part of the upper wing.

The female's forewing undersides are a lighter orange in colour to that of the males which are slightly darker.

A female Small Heath 

Both sexes always land [roost, feeding etc.] with their wings closed. The upper side of the wings in both sexes are orange, again the females are slightly lighter than the males. There are two, sometimes three broods a year. They fly between late April and late June/early July and, between late July/late September and, if there is a third brood, October. They overwinter as a caterpillar in stages/instars.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Red Admiral

Large numbers of Red Admirals visit our shores [Britain] every year from mainland Europe, [starting out from North Africa and, Southern Europe] but they are also known to hibernate here during the long winter months. Red Admirals can be seen in any month of the year even during the winter. When, on an exceptional warm day, having been awoken from their winter sleep by the heat of the sun, they can be found flying just about anywhere, especially in the south of Britain.

Red Admirals really start to emerge in good numbers from their winter slumber in early spring. Both sexes are alike and love basking in the sun on both the ground and on vegetation with their wings fully open.

Opened winged male Red Admiral basking in the sun

Closed winged female Red Admiral

Male Red Admiral aberration, Bialbata [one white spot on each of the orange bands on the
Butterfly's forewings] which are commonly found.

Once mated the females start laying their eggs [ovum] on the upper side of fresh, small leaves of Nettle plants [normally leaves towards the bottom of the stem in the spring] in a sunny position. The earliest dates i have witnessed ovum being laid was on 16th, 19th, 25th March.

Red Admiral ovum on a fresh/small Nettle leaf

Freshly laid ovum

On one occasion on 20th July 2016, i witnessed a female ovipositing on a female Nettle flower which is quite unusual, [on the 23rd July 2013 i witnessed a female Comma also lay an egg on a female Nettle flower, so maybe commoner than i originally thought with both Red Admirals and Commas at this particular time of year]. The eggs hatch after about a week. They have 2-3 broods a year depending on the weather, with the final brood overwintering as an adult.

Red Admiral's ovum on a female Nettle flower

Red Admirals feed on an enormous variety of flowers both in the garden and in the wild. And in late summer the flowers of Ivy and rotting fruit, [especially Apples] are visited.

Female Red Admiral feeding on Ragwort in the height of summer

Male Red Admiral feeding on Ivy flowers late summer

Adult males like a lot of other male species of butterflies, can also be found taking salts/minerals from damp ground, Horse droppings and, even discarded empty Snail shells after Song Thrushes have made a meal of the occupants.

Male Red Admiral taking salts/minerals for a discarded Snail 's shell

Friday, 2 September 2016

Clouded Yellow

These photographs depict the same male Clouded Yellow.

Found late afternoon, early evening whilst it was feeding on this Thistle.....

...when the sun disappeared, it went to roost on the same Thistle...

....early morning the male Clouded Yellow is now covered in dew and,
possibly ice after a cold night with a clear sky.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Large Red Damselfly

 The Large Red Damselfly is one of the commonest found in Britain and one of the first to be seen. They can be found on any type of water habitat, lakes, ponds, rivers, fields and gardens ponds, canals, etc. They fly from May to August.

Two adults copulating, with the female below the male ovipositing [laying eggs] in my garden pond.

This immature Large Red Damselfly is still clinging to the Nymph casing that it has recently emerged from and, is still drying itself.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Poplar Leaf Beetle

Poplar Leaf Beetle [chrysomela populi] having just emerged from the black and white pupa its clinging to,  and will stay there until it completely dries before it flies off.