Tuesday 18 April 2023

Two Great Weekends.

 The Easter weekend really was a fabulous one with 3 days out in the natural world with the enormous highlight of the Large Tortoiseshell that was the subject of my previous post.

There were other delights over that Easter weekend though with several Adders seen in 2 different sites. 

Female Adder.

One site gave Lisa and I a couple of melanistic Adders. I took several photos of these black beauties last year so I left the photography of these to Lisa. Not long after seeing these though I spotted the larva of the Cream-spot Tiger Moth. As this was new to me I did make sure we both got photos of it. With the flight season for this moth approaching, the larva was probably walking off in search of a site to pupate.

Cream-spot Tiger Moth larva.

All through the weekend we were listening to the calls of Chiffchaff. The one below was photographed during the week following Easter.


Between the weekends I also visited the patch for the first time since I injured my foot some 6-7 weeks before. It really was good to get back up there. I spent a bit of time hunting the tussocks for Wall Brown pupae but could only find some larvae which was a little disappointing and surprising, as I normally find it difficult to find larvae into April as they are generally night feeders by this time. There was a large difference in size too with 2 of them just about fully grown but the other 2 were smaller than half grown indicating there will still be fresh individuals well into June.

Wall Brown larva.

I was pleased though to find 2 Marbled White larvae. One of each colour forms. The brown form was very small but the green form, below, was a little over 1 cm. long.

Marbled White larva (green form).

I also found a Glow-worm larva in the tussocks probably hunting snails.

Glow-worm larva.

Lisa and I spotted a couple of Emperor Moths over the Easter weekend but I didn't get a chance to photograph one until the day on my patch. Every year it is a delight seeing these spectacular moths and I was pleased to be able to show one in close up to Lisa this past weekend over in West Sussex.

Male Emperor Moth.

Due to me developing a bad cough during the week we only had one trip over this past weekend and as well as the Emperor Moth we found a couple more Adders as well as a couple of nice moths. The Green Carpet was extremely fresh. Fortunately after flying past us it settled in a bush and stayed there long enough for us both to photograph it. The marking on this species fade extremely quickly so it was good to get this very fresh individual perform for us even though it was a painful experience squeezing into the bush with thorns digging in our heads!!

Green Carpet.

We were also pleased to see the lovely micro moth Pyrausta nigrata. It was certainly enjoying the daisies. Sadly the hoped for Grizzled Skipper didn't show. It certainly is a very late year this year with many species still not being on the wing yet, although hopefully some better weather will really get things going now.

Pyrausta nigrata.

A couple of Swallows and a Wheatear did however make it feel a bit more spring like!!

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