A Walk In The Park

by Ian Bushell

I had a quick wander round the park this afternoon to see what needs doing, to assess the ragwort situation in the fields, and look at the tree damage done by the wind. There were three Roe Deer under the Owl Oak in the Church Lane field across the Lambrok, where they are planning to build houses..

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Moth traps

On the evening of July 16th, Ian Bushell and lepidopterist, Hugo Brooke set up moth traps at the top of Village Green. You may have seen them and wondered what they were doing.

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Peacock

Remember all those peacock caterpillar netsts? They have metamorphosed into a shiny new generation of adult peacock butterflies.

A marbled white (Melanargia galathea) on creeping thistle flowers, photographed in the park yesterday by Julie Newblé. If you look carefully, there are at least three common red soldier beetles hidden in the picture.

Thanks Julie.

Q&A

A question from a reader:

If I want large white butterfly caterpillars in my garden AND I want my kale, is that like trying to have my cake and eat it? I suppose they don’t eat anything else, do they? I have sent you a photograph.
Liz

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A nest of peacock butterfly caterpillars found in the park by Isabelle Newblé, aged 9, and photographed by her mother, Julie. Well done both of you!

Another new species

On Sunday, Julie Newblé sent us pictures of caterpillars in a tent-web she found strung between blackthorn twigs in the hedge at the top of the Arboretum.

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Another world record

Longest butterfly migration

We now know the painted lady (Vanessa cardui) makes the longest migration of any butterfly: 9,000 miles from tropical Africa to the Arctic Circle, almost double the journey made by the previous record holder, the famed monarch butterfly.

It can take six successive generations of painted ladies to complete this epic journey, flying up to 1,500ft high and reaching speeds of 30mph. The butterflies that return to Africa at the end of the year are several generations removed from those that set out.

This astonishing and beautiful butterfly, spotted in the park for the first time last year, will begin arriving in Britain this month. Keep a look out for it.

Pictures (CC0) from pixabay.com

Small heath

While rummaging through our species lists looking for ammunition to throw in the direction of Planning Application 20/00379/OUT, we found a 2018 record of a small heath (Coenonympha pamphilus) hidden in the Lepidoptera section. The small heath is the park’s third UK BAP Priority Species of butterfly.

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