Thursday, 1 August 2013

A Jay With A Poorly Wing, A Canary Moth, A Country Walk And The Cabbage White Children Have Hatched

Blimey it's a hot old day here today. Dare I say too hot? I wasn't feeling great earlier and went upstairs for forty winks at lunchtime and woke up to discover I'd slept for three hours! It's all that moth-children-related disturbed sleep this week....

Sadly, I think all the moth caterpillars have died. This is not a shock- it was always going to be a matter of great luck to hit upon the correct food source. The spider eggs are outside because they don't actually need me to raise them in the same way and I am more confident in their ability to survive accordingly.
The Cabbage White Children hatched out this morning and are busy munching their way through a nice fat cabbage leaf as I type....

I am more confident about their survival, unless they turn out to be infected with parasitic wasps which has happened before. If they don't, I will have pictures of pupas and newly emerged butterflies for you to admire before long.

In order to balance time on the PC, L and I are spending a portion of everyday out walking (not today because we would fry within seconds and I am tired). Yesterday we tramped a section of a local estate path across fields between hedgerows which were full of insects. I think my favourite was this 22 Spot Ladybird, Psyllobora Vigintiduopunctata (what a tiny name for a huge insect).

The 22 spots are native ladybirds who feed on mildew and have become scarce in the north but down here they do well. It was a pleasure to see her and learn who she was. I am determined to extend my insect and wild plant knowledge this summer and the kitchen table is groaning under books about insects, moths, ponds and plants! In fact we saw two of these ladybirds yesterday, because there was one on my car at home as well.

There were Black-Tipped Soldier Beetles Busy Serenading...

Curious Cattle Covered In Flies...

Luscious Ladybirds Lounging on Grasses...

Meadow Browns Munching on Spear Thistles...

Some Sort Of Cow Parsley Ready To Burst...

The Oakley Stream Bubbling Coolly Along...

Noble Oaks Standing Sedately In Old Parkland...

Lovely Views Of The English Countryside In High Summer...

And here are my Walking Companions.

The Human Version was overjoyed to be out Walking In The Countryside with his mother stopping every other second to Show Him An Insect and Take A Photograph Of It. So much so that after a few minutes he wordlessly clipped the end of Teddy's lead to my jeans and tugged it whenever I looked like I was going to stop. 
"One day," I said, fondly imagining forward to a time in the future when he is grown up, "when some girl has broken your heart or you've a Tough Week, you'll be glad to escape to the Countryside and have a Few Days At Home and go on a Nature Ramble and look at wildlife with your old mum." 
"No I won't" he said.

A Couple Of Signs, Helpfully Showing The Way...

A Horse Chestnut, Blighted With Leaf Blotch
(Guignardia Aesculi Fungus)

Lesser Burdock, with it's charming Country Name of Cuckoo Button

Two Common Green Capsids

A Lovely And Friendly Cricket, Who Is Possibly A Mottled Green

And Signs Of Things To Come....
Blackberry Blossom On The Brambles....

Majestic Swallows Lining Up On The Fences...

"I have enjoyed this, darling" I said as we neared the top of the track and the end of our walk. I gave him a hug which he returned because he is a Kind Boy (and because no-one was looking). "And I am resolved to Learn More About Wild Plants. I'd like to know more of their names without needing to look them up and this is the Perfect Time Of Year to do it. I fear I knew more as a girl and have allowed much of it to slip from my brain, so we shall Do This Again."
 "Great," said L gloomily. Then he brightened. "Can I have the keys?" and he grinned, in a not-at-all-reassuring way for someone who'd spent the morning Learning How To Drive My Car.
"Why?" I asked, suspiciously.
In the event we walked back to the car together, which I felt on the whole was the safer option. Upon our arrival home this is what we saw in the veg patch...

A Jay with a poorly wing and also what looks like a injured face. I tried to get near to help but he wasn't having any of it. Some Wild Things are Wilder than others. We had the same with a woodpecker we found in the forest once. His wing had been ripped clean off, so we brought him home to nurse him. He spent the car journey home using my leg as a tree trunk perching upright as they do, which is an experience I will never forget,  but within an hour he had escaped out of a cage and through an upstairs window. Some things are best left to Mother Nature.

The Moth box was out last night for the first time in a week because of the weather and I have missed my fluttery friends. I haven't yet been all the way through the box because of feeling sleepy and unwell earlier, but one moth stood out from the others instantly because of the amazing colour. He/ She is a Canary Shouldered Thorn, with a magnificent furry mane of bright yellow. Beautiful, no?

Here's an August Thorn to compare...Much paler...

Also of interest in the box were...

A Four Spot Footman (male)

A Graceful And Elegant Large Emerald...

A Delicate Lacewing...

An Ichneumon Fly

And not in the box but visiting the bedroom upstairs, ANOTHER Clearwing Hornet Moth, this time a
Lunar Hornet Clearwing

I'll stop there with the moths because I want to put a post together tomorrow to show them off properly. Hope you've enjoyed our ramble across the fields and pics of Interesting People At Home. I'm off to feed the caterpillar children...

Have a lovely evening whatever you are doing,

CT x


  1. Well I have really enjoyed this country walk. The swallows image is amazing, I do love swallows and always miss their chatter when they leave. The Canary Shouldered Thorn is a beautiful creature. I think you should get a prize for the most imaginative moth shots...:) that Emerald is a cracking shot.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it. I love swallows too- it was magic seeing them on the fence.

      Thanks re the moth pics too- that Emerald is really beautiful, one of my favourites :-)

  2. When I saw the photo of the jay, I thought, 'What on earth is a kookaburra doing in CT's garden??' Brain frazzled by the heat, you see. But I think they are from the same family, aren't they?

    And seeing anything hornet related always makes me shiver because I have seen a hornet attack a honeybee mid-flight and it ain't a pretty sight. A sight made even more unsettling by me flailing around with a fly swat shrieking 'Leave that bee alone, you b*****d hornet.' Eurgh!

    1. No idea about the Jay's Aussie cousins. Hard to concentrate here too because I'm being assailed by a large Drinker moth who refuses to go outside and keeps flying in to me, even though it's dark and she really should be doing mothy things outside.

      You have to get past the whole hornet thing and see him as a MOTH which is what he is. No sting, no compulsion to attack bees or be sworn at by a cross bee mummy. MOTH. Not HORNET.

      Night night :-)

  3. It must be the weather. I've felt as if I could fall asleep standing up today.

    1. It sure has been hot, mercifully cooler today :-)

  4. Ho CT Hope you are feeling a bit better now. Great selection of birds and insects. Like you I am trying to learn more about the wild flowers and Butterfies this summer although I don't seem to be able to keep it all in my head. I never know about a 22 spot ladybug let alone seen one!

    1. I never knew about them either, and when I saw her thought she was a foreign import. I also didn't know some of the plant and insect names so it was a great walk for learning new things.

  5. Looks like a lovely country walk with lots of great discoveries :) Some great photos too! Love the Clearwing moth - not seen any Thorns or Emerald species here yet this year either :( Unusual "different" looking yellow moth in the trap this morning - think will have to move into garage to "process" in the hope of limiting means of escape!!

    Hope you feel better today. Too hot for me yesterday!

    1. Feeling back to normal thanks :-) It was probably the heat that did it...

      Is it poss the thorns have been escaping the trap? I only ask because, along with footmen, we have had so many of them down here. I now do mine in the house, which does mean a room full of moths for the day, but most are pretty good at letting themselves out the window once dark has fallen!

  6. What a lovely walk and some terrific photos - I love the ladybirds including the 22 spot. I've hardly seen any ladybirds here this year. The Swallow pic is wonderful, too. And the Canary moth is very beautiful.

    1. That's interesting re the ladybirds because I've seen more native versions here this year than in a long time- or praps I'm just more aware of them what with writing the blog and taking the camera everywhere I go? Couldn't believe the Swallows all lining up already! They are such wonderful birds :-)

  7. I'm most impressed by your ability to spot the wasp and hornet-like moths - for all I know, they may have called here because I'd automatically assume they were what they're pretending to be, and run

    all warm wishes


    1. I would have done the same, and in fact did, then Jon from ALS kindly spotted the error and let me know what it was and I've been OK telling them apart ever since. The mothy ones have got black antennae and more distinct bands of black and yellow on their bodies. Once you've spotted one you'll know it :-)

  8. Another wonderful post! I do hope that when I have children I can interest them in nature like you do with L (when no-one else is around to know that he enjoys it!).

    I really love your swallow photo! They are my favourite bird, followed by lots of others, because it is so hard to choose! Probably the majority of my clothing has some form of bird or swallow print on it!

    I think I took a photo of a silver Y on the wall in our garden, when I eventually get around to posting it you shall have to confirm or correct :) I'd quite like a large emerald to grace our garden - what a beauty!

    1. Got both comments thanks Lou- sorry you had to re-type it, what a pain.

      I hope this connection with nature stands L in good stead, I'm sure it will. When no-one is looking he chats away quite happily to all the Small Things, and even rescues moths for me! I think he quite enjoys rolling his eyes about it all. I'm quite sure you will give your future children the same love of the countryside that you have :-)

      I love Swallows too and once raised one when I was 10. I have never forgotten it. It was a magical time.

      The Silver Y's are all out and about at the mo- I saw one this morning. V glad if the blog has helped you ID them. x

  9. Beautiful pictures of the countryside and plants and wildlife. We were thought the landscape around Mottisfont was wonderful how lucky to have it on your doorstep. My family get fed with me continually stopping to take photos too!
    Sarah x

    1. It is glorious Sarah and only a few mins drive for us so we are very fortunate. I'm glad you enjoyed it when you popped down. You'll have more excuses to now your daughter is at Southampton! x


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