Milkmaids is one of the many common names of Cardamine pratensis, a spring-flowering plant that loves our damp meadows and stream edges. In Wiltshire we know it more often as lady’s smock or, because it flowers when the cuckoo returns to Britain, as cuckoo flower.Continue reading “Eight maids a-milking”
The Winter moth (Operophtera brumata) is one of the few moth species that can cope with winter’s freezing temperatures in its adult stage. They are endothermic which means that they can produce heat internally by biochemical processes, just as warm-blooded creatures do.Continue reading “Winter moths”
Disease resistant elm
We have precious elm saplings, resistant to Dutch elm disease, that will need to be planted out in the park soon.Continue reading
A late-season speckled wood (Pararge aegeria) photographed last week, basking in the sunshine on the edge of the copse between Sleeper Field and Sheep Field. They are creatures of such woodland edges, camouflaged by the dappled light.Continue reading “Speckled wood”
Garden tiger moth
by Ian Bushell
David Feather found the caterpillar of a Garden Tiger Moth in the heritage orchard.Continue reading
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..Continue reading
by Ian Bushell
Transect for August
Numbers and variety are a bit disappointing; a cold late-summer day.
The old filled-in pond at the end of Lambrok Meadow is where I saw the Common Blue among the Ragwort, Willow-herb, Spindle, Thistle, Rose, Bramble, Red and White clover .
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.Continue reading
Southwick Country Park
Recorder Ian Bushell
Date 21 July 2020
Start time 1420hrs Finish time 1615hrs
Temperature 23C; Cloud 70% Sunshine
Wind direction – westerly, light, odd gusts.
All fields now mown.
The Big Butterfly Count began yesterday and will run until Sunday August 9th. Join in and help Butterfly Conservation monitor the health of Britain’s Lepidoptera. Spend just 15 minutes in the park, your garden, a field or wood, counting the common butterflies you see.Continue reading “The Big Butterfly Count”
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.
The gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus) reported in last week’s butterfly transect has turned out to be a winner.Continue reading “Another win!”
The park’s first ringlet butterfly (Aphantopus hyperantus) of the year was seen and photographed in Sleepers Field on June 10th. This newly hatched adult was a smooth, velvety dark brown fringed with white, its underwings clearly marked with the rings that give the species its common name.Continue reading “National Insect Week – Day 2”
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.
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!
The peacock caterpillars in the nettles in Simpson’s Field are growing fast.Continue reading “Peacock”
Please do send us pictures of the flora and fauna you come across in the park, particularly if you don’t know what it is. We are happy to help with identification. To encourage you, here is our Messenger conversation with Julie about the caterpillars she found and photographed.Continue reading “Messages about moths”
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.Continue reading
This week has brought a report of the first of the summer’s meadow browns.Continue reading “Meadow brown”
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
Where are our disease resistant elm saplings?Continue reading