Sunday, 4 August 2013

A Stroll Through Fields, Woodland And Wetlands With Interesting Bees and Beetles, And More Butterfly Caterpillars Arrive

We've been out for two walks today. The first, through woods and fields, produced some interesting insects and plants, like this Harlequin Longhorn Beetle who was having a fight with a bee over some meadow thistle


Obviously something nice and tasty inside this plant stem
As well as trying to improve my wild plant and insect ID skills I'm also trying to get to grips with bee identification, something I don't find easy because there are so many of them, and many of them are only subtly different from each other!
I think that this one is a Cuckoo Bee, Bombus Campestris, also known as a Field Bee, but will be happily corrected if I am wrong! The Cuckoo Bees are so called because they parasite other bees' nests. Hmm, not quite worked out how I feel about that, beyond a vague "everything in nature has its place" sense. I am inordinately fond of bees and don't like to think ill of any of them. I think this one is rather splendid with his/ her white stripy bottom, even if the wing condition signals him/ her as a bit of an OAP.

There are some lovely woodland stretches along this walk between fields of ripe golden corn...

There are also stretches of Interesting Hedge, with lots of lovely hedgerow plants such as this....

Hairy St John's Wort 

There is also gathering evidence of the approach of Autumn with hazelnuts forming on the trees in the woods,

And these Lords and Ladies berries. 
Among the Country Names for Lords and Ladies are cuckoo pint and jack-in-the-pulpit, which I love because they are so evocative.

Wild Plums in the hedgerows.
 We were alerted to their presence by several squashed and splattered ones lying on the surface of the lane.

Some form of Honeysuckle I think?

Now this is interesting, and links neatly to the caterpillars on the nettles in yesterday's post. I am not one hundred percent absolutely certain but I think this may be Red Admiral Caterpillars inside a silk cocoon on these nettles above. They weave the cocoon on nettle leaves, binding the leaves together, and remain safe inside. There were several of these silken nests in the nettles under the hedge, although I didn't see any Red Admiral butterflies until the afternoon's walk.

The Moth Box hasn't been out as much as I would like because it's the holidays and we are busy with other things, however, my dear moths still manage to make themselves known, as per this perfect example of a Riband Wave who was waiting on the windscreen of the car when we got back to it at the end of our walk. She wasn't too chuffed when I asked her to move and required extra prodding with a leaf before she rattled her wings in an irritated sort of way and glided off into a tree.  Love them.

After a morning of fields and woodland we went down into the wetlands for a very different sort of walk through a very different sort of landscape in the afternoon.

There were some gorgeous butterflies out and about, including this rather lovely Comma

Rather faded Comma with wings open in the shot below

Red Admiral

Greater Burdock

No idea what this water plant is below but thought it was rather beautiful

The River Test!
(remember it from yesterday? A rad sad trickle of a river then)

Whilst out and about today I have been keeping an eye out for more Peacock Caterpillars on nettles, as I was cross with myself for not bringing any home yesterday, and lo! We found some! So now I have two boxes of caterpillars busy munching their way through cabbages and nettles respectively, and we'll wait and see who hatches out first!

More on the moths tomorrow, all being well. I am not deliberately trying to tease you, the days just whizz by at the moment. I am hoping to get the box out this week as well which will hopefully bring in more new visitors as the season advances and the species drawn to the box shift.

Have a good evening all. Sausages are cooking here so I must stop now before they burn...

CT :-)


  1. that was a great variety of things in the post today. I love the shot, 4 from the bottom. I have no idea what it is but is is lovely. Love th moth & Butterfly shots also.

    1. Hi Margaret,

      Hope you're having a nice weekend. That plant is interesting and I must try and find out what it is. The river was very thick with all the plants growing in it, perfect conditions I guess. CT :-)

  2. I love the silhouette of the Comma-it's just perfect CT! That beetle looks menacing if I were the bee I'd be off. I've never seen a cuckoo bee-but then I haven't looked. Like you I only know the basic bee id's so I must improve my skills. The wetland walk looks so lovely-I should really go off to the Teign Estuary for something different.

    1. The Comma was gorgeous and amply shows off how it got its name. The beetle had grabbed hold of the bee's leg and they were having a right old tussle. Eventually the beetle won and the bee went to the next flower! Wetland environments are fascinating places to walk with the camera- I'm sure you'd find loads of interesting things, and an estuary would make an excellent post (hint hint!) CT :-)

    2. I forgot to say that I think the wild honeysuckle is wild clematis (clematis vitalba) as we have lots growing along the coastal path and my friend asked me what it was.

    3. That would make much more sense, having looked at the flowers properly. Thanks Suze :-)

  3. Great places to walk.. it's wetlands all the way here, torrential rain all day :(

    1. We have the same thing here today: although it's only spitting at the mo it is forecast to get heavy later. Oh well, the pond and garden will be pleased :-)

  4. What wonderful places to walk - no chance here of doing anything outside yesterday - heavy rain most of the day :( Some lovely flower and butterfly photos too :)

    1. Sounds like we got off lightly yesterday! I was expecting pouring rain here all morning today but only very light showers. The butterflies were lovely- doing well for them now :-)

  5. Terrific photos again and two interesting walks. I love the butterflies and the cocoon is fascinating.

    1. I think I'll go back and check it in another couple of days and see if there's been any change. In the past I would have assumed it belonged to a spider and not got too close!! :-)

  6. It is so lovely to be able to walk in a variety of different habitats and to compare the diverse nature in each!

    You seem to be succeeding in your quest to broaden your identification skills. Something which I too am attempting!

    1. It's the perfect time of year for learning about wild plants. I'm on a quest for lady's bedstraw seeds so if you see any let me know! :-)


Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them. CT.