Category Archives: moth

Castle Hill Butterflies

I made the most of the afternoon sun and headed over to Castle Hill nature reserve, a local downland site which is a haven for butterflies. There were numerous species in evidence, including peacock butterflies, gatekeepers, common blues, innumerable meadow browns. Plus the ones that I actually got around to photographing.

Marbled whites were everywhere, dusting the long grasses with their delicately laced wings. The first photo shows one alongside some six-spot burnet moths (one of our few day-flying species of moth).

Marbled white butterfly and six-spot burnet moths,

And a couple of close-ups of a marbled white.

Marbled White butterfly

Butterfly

I noticed plenty of ragwort as I walked the paths. Ragwort is generally seen as invasive and can be toxic to some animals (horses, in particular). It’s often cleared, but it’s native and is a primary food-source for the cinnabar caterpillar. Several can be seen here in various stages of development.

Cinnabar caterpillars on ragwort

Now for one that I am struggling to identify. I think it may be one of the many varieties of fritillary (please correct me if I’m wrong).

Fritillary (possibly)

The next photo isn’t perfect, but I am fairly sure it’s a chalkhill blue.

Chalkhill blue butterfly

And this one I do know. It’s a small skipper, with its tongue tightly curled.

Small skipper

Camera note: Chalkhill blue and first of the three marbled white photos taken with the Canon 7D and EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens. Everything else was with the EF 100mm f/2.8L macro IS USM lens.

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Seen from the Garden

The weather has been good this weekend, almost hot; and fine enough to spend more time in the garden. Inevitably most of the wildlife activity takes place at night (see video clip further down), but there were two or three interesting sightings to report.

The first of these is ‘seen from the garden’, but is actually taking place a few doors away from us. We always have herring gulls in the vicinity, and they usually appear to go through a nesting routine. This, however, is the first year I recall seeing any chicks emerge as a result of all their activity. Not the best shot, but cute in its way. I’ve only seen one chick, but there could be more (my line of sight isn’t great and the chick seems to spend a lot of its time on the far side of the chimney).

Herring gull and chick

We also have wrens locally, and late yesterday afternoon I spotted one perched in between the slats on the fence at the rear of the garden. It turned out to be a fledgling. I managed a couple of shots before it disappeared back through to the garden beyond.

Fledgling wren

Fledgling wren

The one photo from today is a hummingbird hawk moth, a large day-flying moth which is very well named.

Hummingbird hawk moth

To complete the set, I’ve resorted to a video sequence. There are two of the regular garden foxes here, plus the female badger which was shown in another recent video clip. The foxes look a bit on the tatty side. That’s partly their natural state at this time of year (cubs + moulting makes for a bad hair day), but they also show signs of recovering from mange and that skinny brush is a lot healthier than it was a few weeks ago.

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 7D and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L USM IS lens. Video from the Bushnell Trophy Cam HD.

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A couple more badger and fox pix

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