Meadow browns

A message from Ian B on Tuesday of last week: "Had a walk around the park this afternoon and did a bit of a butterfly transect.  The park is  looking good. I saw 3  speckled woods, 7  small skippers and 43  meadow browns – the latter were in perfect condition as though they had  just... Continue Reading →

Scarce chaser

Scarce chasers are just that: scarce. They are a species of dragonfly that is considered rare, its small local populations at risk. They are listed in Category 3 in the British Red Data Book which documents rare and endangered species in the UK. Category 3 lists species that are estimated to exist nationally in only... Continue Reading →

Peacock caterpillars

Ian found and photographed this nest of peacock butterfly caterpillars on Tuesday. The female butterfly mates in the spring and lays her eggs, several hundred of them, under the topmost leaves of new nettles growing vigorously somewhere sunny. About two weeks later the eggs hatch into black spiky caterpillars with white spots . Like small... Continue Reading →

Song thrush or mistle thrush?

It is difficult to tell if this is a song thrush (Turdus philomelos) or a mistle thrush (Turdus viscivorus). DKG, who took the photograph, thinks it is a mistle thrush but there is dissent among the FoSCP. A mistle thrush or a song thrush? Here is a link to a British Trust for Ornithology article... Continue Reading →

An evening stroll with DKG

 by DKG. . . A few photos of an evening stroll in the park on Wednesday (23rd May). I have been visiting the blue tits' nest in Sleepers Field every day for the past two weeks and I am sorry to report that the nest may have been predated. On each visit this week I... Continue Reading →

Drinker moth caterpillar

This is the caterpillar of the drinker moth (Euthrix potatoria) so called because the caterpillar is believed to drink drops of dew on grass stems. They like damp and marshy places best, riversides and fens, but anywhere grassy will do; grasses, particularly cocks-foot and canary grass, are their main food plants. This is a species... Continue Reading →

Small Tortoiseshell Caterpillars

From Ian B: "I photographed this small tortoiseshell nest this morning in Simpsons Field; there is a nettle bed on the right, about half way up the hard path from the entrance." The female small tortoiseshell butterfly lays her eggs on nettles. They hatch after about 12 days and immediately after hatching, the caterpillars eat... Continue Reading →

An excellent drawing by Jonah, who has noticed that the flowers of native bluebells grow on only one side of the stem; there are seedlings growing next to the parent plant. The dragonfly is probably an emperor dragonfly, one of the few species that becomes a full adult in April when the bluebells are flowering.... Continue Reading →

Ichneumon wasp

This is an ichneumon wasp feeding on clog weed near Lambrok Stream. There are more than 2,500 species of ichneumonids in the UK; it is believed they make up 10%  of all our insect species. It takes an expert to identify any except the most obvious. This one looks like Alomya semiflava  but the time... Continue Reading →

Blue Tits Delay Nesting

For the last two years, a pair of blue tits has nested in a hole in an oak tree in one of the  copses at the southern end of the park. There, they successfully raised broods of chicks under the watchful eye of DKG's camera. Oak trees are a favourite haunt of nesting blue tits.... Continue Reading →

Ring barking

Ring barking or girdling can kill a tree. It happens when the tree's bark is removed right the way round its trunk. Accidental girdling may be the result of a carelessly used strimmer, or over-tight wires and ties; it might be mammals gnawing on the bark or, in the case of deer, rubbing their antlers... Continue Reading →

DKG heard this year's first cuckoo in the park on Sunday morning.

Bloody nosed beetle

I found a bloody nosed beetle (Timarcha tenebricosa) in the short grass where the rabbits graze at the end of Sleepers Field. The line running down the middle of his back gives the impression of separate wing cases but, in fact, the wing  cases are fused together and he is flightless. He is a slow... Continue Reading →

The slow worm survey produced a young grass snake, probably one of last year's hatchlings. It was tucked under a  survey mat in Brunts Field, in the warm and dry. It vanished fairly fast after we lifted the mat, but not before DKG took its picture. . Photograph: DKG More reptiles:

Comma

Sunday morning, in the sunshine, Ian found and photographed this beautiful, newly emerged comma butterfly on Village Green. Commas hibernate in bark crevices and the hollows of trees, where they are perfectly camouflaged by the pattern on their underwings. They emerge in the spring to feed on early nectar sources: blackthorn and willow catkins. The... Continue Reading →

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