Collared dove on my garden fence braving the weather head on!
Collared doves (Streptopelia decaocto) belong in the family Columbidae (pigeons and doves). Their plumage is a pale pinky-grey colour and they have red eyes and red feet. Their common name is attributed to the black collar around the neck.
Collared doves came to the UK in the 1950’s spreading rapidly throughout Europe from the Middle East. They are commonly seen in villages and towns either alone or in pairs or in greater numbers where there is an abundance of food. Their diet consists of seeds and grains.
Spotted in our garden today, the Silver Y moth, Autographa gamma is quite widespread occurring in Europe, North Africa and much of temperate Asia.
Migrants arrive in the British Isles in Spring and produce a second generation in Autumn though these don’t usually survive the winter. It’s usual habitats include gardens, farmland, wasteland and open countryside, plenty of all of those around us. The caterpillar feeds on low growing plants and is sometimes a pest of lettuce, peas and other crops. It’s a yellowish green or dark olive green with wavy white lines along its back and a white stripe down each side. Its head is green with a black stripe each side. I’m not surprised we’ve seen this moth because they do fly both at night and during the day.
These odd looking critters are the larval stage of our very familiar garden friend, the ladybird. They are voracious predators consuming between 200 – 400 aphids and other pests before they are ready to pupate. They grow up to 11mm in length and are black with white or orange markings. Anything you can do to encourage these insects into your garden will help in the battle against many pests especially aphids, of which I have many! I plan on constructing an insect ‘condo’ for winter shelter (eventually!). It’s good to see I have these larvae, just need to hang on to them.
The larval stage of the ladybird …
Well the rain we had last week spoiled the blooms on the lilac Gladiolus but we now have a white one flowering and what I think is going to be a yellow one too!
Got a great shot of this bumble bee visiting the white Gladiolus.
A welcome visitor …
A moth that is often mistaken for a small butterfly because it’s on the wing during the day, the Brimstone is common throughout Europe frequenting light woodland, hedgerows and open countryside. This species produces two broods a year so can be seen in any month between April and October. It’s caterpillar has a double pointed hump in the middle of its back and may be either brown or green. It feeds on various deciduous trees and shrubs including blackthorn (Prunus) and hawthorn (Crataegus).
Brimstone (Opisthograptis luteolata)
Holly Blue Butterfly
I’ve been seeing this small butterfly regularly in the garden now for about a week and it sat still long enough for me to get a snap, a little blurry, but enough to identify it as a Gatekeeper or Hedge Brown.
Gatekeeper or Hedge Brown
It’s common in southern England and Wales and can also be found in Ireland. It has been recorded in Scotland but no longer occurs there. It’s usual habitats are fields, open woodland and hedgerows. The one pictured here, is a male and seems particularly attracted to the Hebe in my garden even though it has no flowers yet. Its caterpillar feeds on several grasses, in particular annual meadow grass, Poa annua. It’s yellowish brown with pale lines down each side and a dark line along its back. The butterfly takes to the wing in July and August and it’s favourite food is bramble blossom, Rubus.
The Birds …
The Bees …
And the Butterflies!
Rather tatty Small White butterfly. They can be seen from March to July. The caterpillar is bluish green with a row of yellow spots down each side and a yellow line along its back. However, if they pupate on fences or walls they are greyish/brown to blend in with their surroundings, clever huh? They feed on members of the brassica family, cabbages in particular and also on garden mignonette (Reseda) and nasturtium (Trapaeolum), which is what has attracted it to my garden.
This is Whiskey, our other cat, he loves the sun even more than he loves our bed!
This is our cat Peanut, not strictly wildlife but resident nonetheless.