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Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Wonderful Ivy

Gorse Shield Bug

It is very late October and the weather was pretty poor yesterday.

So, i wondered whether to carry my heavy camera on my daily dog walk.  I once missed a picture of a Fritillary butterfly because I decided to leave it at home, so I rarely leave it behind.

Small Tortoiseshell
Well I was pleasantly surprised when I checked a stand of Gorse in the hedgerow.  There was a group of three late summer coloured Gorse Shield Bugs.

And on the same piece of Gorse, was a Dock Bug.

Around the corner I came across a Small Tortoiseshell then heard the "pitchoo" call and saw a Marsh Tit.  A bit too quick for a photograph, but not a bad couple of sightings for late October I thought.
Painted Lady
Ivy Bee

Further on I was looking forward to inspecting some stands of Ivy.  Most are in flower with a few developing the red-black fruits so attractive the members of the Thrush family.  The stands are in a south facing hedgerow and had been in full sun for most of the morning.

Red Admiral
It was well worth carrying my camera  for the butterflies and bees.  There were a couple of Ivy bees and a two Buff-tailed Bumble Bees.  But I was really pleased to see butterflies - four Red Admiral, two Comma and a Painted Lady.  All thanks to the late flowering wonderful Ivy with its tiny yellow flowers that is depended upon by insects late in the year.

I don't dare leave my camera behind now.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Indian Summer

Giant Puffball - £2 coin for size

Dock Shieldbugs
According to my researches, an Indian Summer, which is an American expression, is used to describe a period of unseasonably good weather coming at the end of Fall, or as we would say autumn.
This last week has been a most welcome period of really warms, settled weather following a very mediocre period that should have been summer.  A real Indian Summer.

Small Copper
Yesterday was warm and dry with a cooling easterly breeze just the right weather for a good walk. We decided to walk out to our cliffs then north along the South West Coast path to the Bush Inn for lunch before returning home.

We were rewarded by a surprising number of species.  We started with a group of Giant Puffballs near to Stanbury cliff followed by a growing number of butterflies on the wing – eight different species in all at the end of September. 

Other invertebrates were about too, innumerable Silver Y moths, a Common Darter and two species of Shieldbug, Dock and Gorse.

Flocks of Linnets were seen, a large group of Herring Gulls, a couple of Kestrels and Oystercatchers too.  Masses of white butterflies were seen many too distant for specific identification and there was a definite migratory movement of Red Admirals heading south.

Red Admiral feeding on Ivy
One memorable sight was of eleven Red Admirals seen feasting on the newly opened tiny flowers of Ivy.  This is a good reminder to keep your Ivy until after these flowers have formed the hard bright black berries.  The flowers are magnets for flying  invertebrates of all sorts and the berries are a staple in the diet of Blackbirds and Thrushes.