Safari Sunday

Beware of lots of images… They’ve built up again, so it’s time for the inevitable splurge!

It’s easy to assume these photos were taken on a black background, actually it’s just the histogram levels of the camera (I think) that have compensated for the white of the butterfly. The background is actually the Privet hedge, which was in semi-shade at the time. Still, it’s made for an interesting shot. And I hadn’t realised just how far they get their heads into the blooms to reach! I assumed their proboscis was long enough to leach the nectar.

Stalking another butterfly look what landed right next to me.

The Peacocks generally prefer the Buddleja but occasionally they do land elsewhere…

Only to be attacked by Gatekeepers; can’t blame them for sticking to the Buddleja blooms.

This year there’s been quite a few whites – various types – but they’ve also been exceptionally difficult to photograph! This one only let me close, I believe because I was holding a Foxglove so was ‘disguised’. Not that I was crawling around with it stuck to my head and body to hide myself… although maybe that’s an idea for the future!

I spotted this Wasp motionless on the wall, so I moved it into the sun, thinking perhaps it needed to warm up. But it didn’t seem to work because it just wandered around a little bit on the wall and I later found it once again completely still on an Aquilegia stem.

Although not very numerous this year, I have spotted the odd one or two usually on the Ragworts. Thankfully there are also some caterpillars on the nettles too.

One sunny evening there were imo far too many Bees hanging onto plants for the night. I poked them to try to prompt them to find a more suitable place to rest… it didn’t work.

I’ve tried tweeting to the butterfly and moth people but neither have replied to me on the ID of this moth… Interesting though!
Far too long was spent scouring the UK moth website trying to find it.

All the fighting eventually takes its toll.

Finally, a small Skipper! Still yet to see a large skipper and so far I’ve seen neither on the privet blooms which normally they love.
Also, please enlarge the photo to see how many cinnabar caterpillars there are… It’s like this on most of the plants. So just imagine how many I might have next year!

Copyright 2013 Liz.
All rights reserved. Content created by Liz for Gwirrel’s Garden

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13 thoughts on “Safari Sunday

  1. Wonderful photos and makes me want to look more closely at the whites in our garden – your picture of the green veined white was amazing! We are doing out bit for the wasp population as we have a nest in one of our bird boxes 😉

    • Hi Cathy,

      Thanks 🙂
      I’m not sure if you know, but you can click on all my photos and they’ll bring up larger versions so you can see more detail – the Comma is also rather good…

      This year I have seen so few Wasps, it’s actually a concern…. And even then I didn’t see any early on in the year – they only finally appeared really quite late on. We’ve had them starting nests in the summer house before, and I think also in the shed but both were abandoned… Perhaps I ought to get some bird houses and see what decides to use it. I don’t have any bird houses atm because there are no suitable sites, with the garden being south-facing it would fry any eggs. But there are dense hedges at the back, and on my neighbours so I think birds must be nesting nearby. I often hear Wrens calling closeby (actually, I haven’t heard them for a while) and I remember a couple of years ago sitting in the summerhouse and I could hear the very distinctive sound of tiny chicks in the nest calling for food.

      • If you encourage wasps to lodge in a bird house make sure it is not near your own house – we have had frequent visitors when the windows are open but I just talk to them nicely and they move on! 😉 Wrens build several nests and then Mrs chooses which one she likes best so it sometimes hard to find the inhabited one!

    • Hi Annette,

      More insect shots to come – I didn’t use them all up, and loads more butterfly photos and even videos to go.

      The nearest I could find for my moth was a green carpet. But the pattern wasn’t quite right – the light bars at the bottom of the wings for example. But I guess variance could be so high that it is in fact a green carpet? I also thought the body was too orangey/yellowy??

      Oh well.

  2. Amazing images Liz – lots of whites here too. My neighbour has a massive patch of brassicas growing and I think this is their final destination!
    Re the bees sleeping. I was noticing this habit in my own garden and done a bit of research. Apparently when the male bees leave the nest they don’t go back. They do not collect pollen, spend their time feeding on nectar and trying to mate. Very few of them are actually successful at mating.

    • Hi Angie,

      Oh dear, I hope your neighbour’s veg don’t suffer too heavily! Don’t know of anyone round here growing their own – previous owner used to have a veg garden but it’s been 7 years now.
      Not that I know every single garden. Obvs.

      Ah, great info re:Bees sleeping on plants. Very interesting! I noticed one of them ‘sleeping’ was a male leaf-cutter Bee. That much I did know, but the others just look like your typical bumbles so didn’t think much of it. So now I’ll have to stop saying ‘she’ when I refer to sleeping Bees 🙂

  3. Super selection of photos again Liz, the butterflies are coming in droves almost at the moment, each time I go into the garden I see something new. I gave up trying to count your caterpillars on the ragwort, we used to see a lot in the NW when we lived there, but here it is very much horse country so ragwort is killed as soon as it pops its head up, it must be 23 yrs since I have seen any.

    • Hi Pauline,

      The Ragwort seem to be spreading around here – I think they originated further up the hill and on the grass/parkland and have slowly come into the gardens. I need to cut back lots of the seed heads because we really don’t need more in the garden now – assuming I’m still here next year – I already know I’ll have to pull up a lot of them because there’s a lot of babies growing already.

      It’s funny seeing it around actually and reminds me of a previous house; a neighbour said she brought some yellow welsh poppies from somewhere and they slowly crept their way up the street and onto neighbouring streets. Ha ha, I’m not sure if she’s ashamed or impressed that she managed to single-handedly spread them around that area.

  4. Great photos! I can’t believe you have so many in your backyard. The bees must choose your yard for naps because they know they’re safe there with a good caretaker. I see a white butterfly or two most days, and the occasional brown or yellow, but that’s it. Lots of bees right now – the May Night salvia put out a great second flush and the little bees love it. Last night my toddler and I watched a large hummingbird moth on the phlox. It’s fun to watch the big bumbles squeeze up inside the foxgloves to get a snack. They also love the dozen or so ‘Rozanne’ geraniums in the garden. There are hungry lacewing larvae and ladybugs on the aphid-covered roses. Please, gorge yourselves, I say.

    • Hi VW,

      This year has been somewhat mixed… Way more Peacocks than I’ve ever seen, but no Red Admirals and about half the number of Gatekeepers I’m used to. I’d also like to see more Small Tortoiseshells and Commas but so far the most at one time I think was 3 and 2 respectively. So I’m not sure whether I’m really happy or not with the numbers.

      Is there parkland or fallow/waste ground nearby to you? I know it might not be the prettiest sight, but it will have a large impact on your butterfly numbers. I assume, like in the UK many of the caterpillars feed on grasses and if everyone around you is meticulous over their lawns and keep them perfectly cut, you’re just not going to get that many butterflies around. Try reading up on US butterflies, see what you can do to attract them – to lay and also to feed. After all, they will generally only feed nearby to sites they can lay eggs otherwise it’s a waste of their energy.

      For example, a species of blue butterfly here mimics ant larvae. Ants then take them into their nest, feed and care for them before the larvae eventually are large enough, move away and pupate into a butterfly! So this species, obviously needs very specific niche to survive – I think it’s red ants that they target btw – but anyway… That’s never going to happen in a garden situation but my point is, to get the species, you need to provide the food and homes for them 🙂

      Ah, I’ve never seen a Hummingbird Hawk Moth… I have Lavender in the hope that one day…………………..

      I don’t often see Lacewings or the larvae, it’s a shame because I do love them. I had to let one out of the house a couple of weeks ago. Ladybirds numbers here have been dire this year. Absolutely awful. And I can’t understand why. I assume it was the late snows that hit after a relatively warm winter, so they probably came out of hibernation early and then died. I’ve seen less than a handful of the common red 7-spots. So the Aphids are beginning to take a hold in some places, but thankfully I have hoverfly larvae eating them for me (not quickly enough imo).

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