Showing posts with the label butterfly

Across the meadows to Shelly

It never fails to amaze me that so much wildlife live so close to us, and yet it is so easy to miss. However, if you go out with looking for wildlife, or photographing as in our case, then you can often be enchanted or amazed by the variety around you. Today was a walk across a local meadow and by the River Brett, with an aim in mind of seeing anything in the way of dragonfly or such. We were not disappointed. The first thing we spotted by the old Mill, was the Wagtail. This grey wagtail is a member of the wagtail family, Motacillidae, measuring around 18–19 cm overall length. The species looks somewhat similar to the yellow wagtail but has the yellow on its underside restricted to the throat and vent. The top of the bird you will see is more gray. Our Wagtail flew to a perch on a branch and then down onto the Lily pads on the river surface, where he did some hunting for insects. Once in our intended spot by the river, it was fairly easy to get images of t

Swallowtails at Strumpshaw Fen

Swallowtail butterflies are large, colourful butterflies that form the family Papilionidae. Swallowtails differ from all other butterflies in a number of anatomical traits. Most notably, their caterpillars possess a unique organ behind their heads, called the osmeterium. Normally hidden, this forked structure can be everted when the caterpillar is threatened, and emits smelly secretions containing terpenes. The adults are often tailed like the forked tail of some swallows, giving the insect its name. During the 20th century, especially after the Second World War, fen land management ceased and much of this butterfly’s habitat was lost. Today active management of the fen land, where reed and sedge are cut to allow other plants to grow, plays an important part in the survival of the swallowtail in Norfolk. With this continued fen land management, the future for the swallowtail looks brighter.  On our visit to Strumpshaw Fen, we expected to have to search around for a

Butterflies and Moths of 2014

Overall, 2014 was a good year for the number of different butterflies and moths we spotted and photographed. This is a good sample, but not all of them. I owe Rosey a huge debt when talking of these amazing insects, because are very much part of the world that fascinates her and she has infinite patience in identifying them. Thank you Rosey! Angle Shades (Phlogophora meticulosa) An unmistakable and distinctive moth with pinkish-brown markings. The wings are folded along the body at rest which gives the impression of a withered autumn leaf.  The adults are attracted to light and feed on flowers of Common Reed and other grasses and are frequently seen during the day, resting in the open, on walls, fences or vegetation. They overwinter as larvae so the caterpillars can be seen all year round, feeding in mild weather. They usually pupate in a cocoon just under the soil.  Small Argent & Sable (Epirrhoe tristata) Although the markings can be variable, the distin

Beauty in Nature - 21 days in July

Sometimes it is awe inspiring to consider the variety in nature that surrounds us, and which we often take for granted, or just plain `don't see`! The images that follow were all taken by me in a period of 21 days in July and could pass unnoticed if I had been in a rush. Unfortunately, for many people there is little alternative to the modern day hustle and bustle. I am one of the lucky ones, I know. Firstly, the star of the week for me ...... ....... the Fen Raft Spider. The Raft spider is a large, chunky spider that lives around the edge of ponds and ditches, and on wet heaths and bogs. Adults sit at the edge of the water, or on floating vegetation, with their front legs resting on the water's surface in order to feel for the vibrations of potential prey. Using the surface tension of the water, they chase out on to the water to catch their prey, which will even include tadpoles or small fish. Raft Spiders will also swim underwater, often diving beneath the surf