Wednesday 29 June 2022
Knot grass moth, Christophstal June 2022

Knot grass moth, Christophstal June 2022

The first of my knotgrass moths emerged today. It is a dark form - if I'd seen this in my trap, I wouldn't have been able to identify it easily. Having said that, I haven't seen the adults of this species in the trap before, so this photo goes on the species page.

Sunday 26 June 2022

We spent most of the day weeding the cottage garden beds. I did find a bit of time to take some photos.

This scorpion fly sat between us when we were having a coffee. His antennae were blowing around in the wind and he cut a dash.

We're not too happy with the wasps we keep seeing eating our new fence!

While sitting under one of our snowball trees, I saw this geometrid caterpillar hanging on a silk line. I'm not sure what species this is yet. Anyway, he's gone in my puparium, so I'll find out next year all being well.

Our juneberry didn't produce any berries last year, but this year is pretty good. We tried one and they were quite nice.

Lastly, one of our zinnia flowers has managed to survive a mauling by the slugs and has produced a rather spectacular flower, or rather a flower within a flower. I've never seen anything like it.

Scorpion fly in the wind, Christophstal June 2022

Scorpion fly in the wind, Christophstal June 2022

<em>Vespula germanica</em> eating our fence, Christophstal June 2022

Vespula germanica eating our fence, Christophstal June 2022

Geometrid caterpillar TBI on viburunum, Christophstal June 2022

Geometrid caterpillar TBI on viburnum, Christophstal June 2022

Geometrid caterpillar TBI on viburunum, Christophstal June 2022

Geometrid caterpillar TBI on viburnum, Christophstal June 2022

Geometrid caterpillar TBI on viburunum, Christophstal June 2022

Geometrid caterpillar TBI on viburnum, Christophstal June 2022

Juneberries Christophstal June 2022

Juneberries Christophstal June 2022

Zinnia, Christophstal June 2022

Zinnia, Christophstal June 2022

Saturday 25 June 2022

A few months ago, we sprinkled huge amounts of wildflower seeds up in our mini-orchard. Nothing much has come up, but we have noticed a new clover species. This is Persian clover and is especially fragrant apparently - we'll have to check that out.

Here's a nice photo of a common blue damselfly. I've also included a photo of some ground elder flowers which are looking really nice. We've finally managed to get the ground elder under control in our vegetable beds, but it really hasn't been a problem outside (where this was taken) and the insects love it.

We had a really fresh and compliant marbled white butterfly on one of our potato plants today.

Before I strimmed some areas of the garden, I had a look around to make sure there was nothing in peril. Luckily, I found this very small caterpillar which I immediately recognised as a member of the Euclidia family (as it has three proleg pairs). I'm hoping this is a mother shipton moth, but it is probably a burnet companion moth (which are far more common here).

Persian clover, Christophstal June 2022

Persian clover, Christophstal June 2022

Persian clover, Christophstal June 2022

Persian clover, Christophstal June 2022

Persian clover, Christophstal June 2022

Persian clover, Christophstal June 2022

Common blue damselfly, Christophstal June 2022

Common blue damselfly, Christophstal June 2022

Ground elder flowers, Christophstal June 2022

Ground elder flowers, Christophstal June 2022

Marbled white, Christophstal June 2022

Marbled white, Christophstal June 2022

Marbled white, Christophstal June 2022

Marbled white, Christophstal June 2022

<em>Euclidia</em> caterpillar TBI, Christophstal June 2022

Euclidia caterpillar TBI, Christophstal June 2022

Wednesday 22 June 2022
Froglet, Christophstal June 2022

Froglet, Christophstal June 2022

Froglet, Christophstal June 2022

Froglet, Christophstal June 2022

We had an amazing amount of rain last night and today we had 1000s of little froglets around the house and down on the forest road. They are so tiny, people don't see them and they get trodden on. For scale, the first photo has Christine's well manicured fingernail for scale and in the second one, there's a spruce needle.

Tuesday 21 June 2022

This heron had caught a big rodent in the pond this morning. I can't quite make out what the rodent is, but you can see it was big. By the time I got to my camera, the heron had already drowned the hapless creature. And then it was down in one.

Heron with rodent, Christophstal June 2022

Heron with rodent, Christophstal June 2022

Heron with rodent, Christophstal June 2022

Heron with rodent, Christophstal June 2022

Heron with rodent, Christophstal June 2022

Heron with rodent, Christophstal June 2022

Heron with rodent, Christophstal June 2022

Heron with rodent, Christophstal June 2022

Heron with rodent, Christophstal June 2022

Heron with rodent, Christophstal June 2022

Heron with rodent, Christophstal June 2022

Heron with rodent, Christophstal June 2022

Heron with rodent, Christophstal June 2022

Heron with rodent, Christophstal June 2022

Heron with rodent, Christophstal June 2022

Heron with rodent, Christophstal June 2022

Sunday 19 June 2022

Another hot day and lots of photos.

Starting off with this red-tailed bumblebee which was crawling around as it doesn't seem to have properly developed wings. There is a virus that can make this happen.

There are a few insect species that I will have to ID later.

Our "squirrel-proof" birdfeeder isn't working!!

We had a couple of high-brown fritillaries flying around today as well as lots of skippers.

There was a rather drab caterpillar on one of our red campions. This is a campion moth which feeds on the deveoping seeds of campions. One of the other heads had developed this green berry. This is the normal development, but we don't normally see this green stage.

We sat on the terrace for a while and there were lots of these really annoying little flies which kept landing on us and, presumably, taking up our sweat.

We had a zebra spider on the garden table today in place of the black jumping spider we had a few days ago.

Up in the cottage garden, I spotted this strange insect while I was on slug patrol. It is Cixius cunicularius which is in the cicada family.

I found a new caterpillar today on honeysuckle. I think it is a grey chi moth, but I suspect it is parasitized, so I may never know for sure.

As dusk was falling, this scallop shell moth was fluttering around all the areas where we'd watered.

Bee with no wings, Christophstal June 2022

Bee with no wings, Christophstal June 2022

Bee with no wings, Christophstal June 2022

Bee with no wings, Christophstal June 2022

Beetle TBI, Christophstal June 2022

Beetle TBI, Christophstal June 2022

Fly TBI, Christophstal June 2022

Fly TBI, Christophstal June 2022

<em>Euodynerus dantici violaceipennis</em>, Christophstal June 2022

Euodynerus dantici violaceipennis, Christophstal June 2022

Squirrelproof bird feeder, Christophstal June 2022

Squirrelproof bird feeder, Christophstal June 2022

High-brown fritillary, Christophstal June 2022

High-brown fritillary, Christophstal June 2022

Caterpillar on campion head, Christophstal June 2022

Caterpillar on campion head, Christophstal June 2022

Campion 'berry', Christophstal June 2022

Campion 'berry', Christophstal June 2022

Annoying fly TBI, Christophstal June 2022

Annoying fly TBI, Christophstal June 2022

Zebra spider, Christophstal June 2022

Zebra spider, Christophstal June 2022

Zebra spider, Christophstal June 2022

Zebra spider, Christophstal June 2022

<em>Cixius cunicularius</em>, Christophstal June 2022

Cixius cunicularius, Christophstal June 2022

Grey chi caterpillar, Christophstal June 2022

Grey chi caterpillar, Christophstal June 2022

Grey chi caterpillar detail showing possible parasitoid entry point, Christophstal June 2022

Grey chi caterpillar detail showing possible parasitoid entry point, Christophstal June 2022

Scallop shell moth, Christophstal June 2022

Scallop shell moth, Christophstal June 2022

Thursday 16 June 2022
Small pearl-bordered fritillary, Christophstal June 2022

Small pearl-bordered fritillary, Christophstal June 2022

White stork, Christophstal June 2022

White stork, Christophstal June 2022

White stork, Christophstal June 2022

White stork, Christophstal June 2022

Synanthedon cephiformis, Christophstal June 2022

Synanthedon cephiformis, Christophstal June 2022

<em>Synanthedon cephiformis</em>, Christophstal June 2022

Synanthedon cephiformis, Christophstal June 2022

<em>Synanthedon cephiformis</em>, Christophstal June 2022

Synanthedon cephiformis, Christophstal June 2022

Bug with problem, Christophstal June 2022

Bug with problem, Christophstal June 2022

Bug with problem, Christophstal June 2022

Bug with problem, Christophstal June 2022

Fly TBI, Christophstal June 2022

Fly TBI, Christophstal June 2022

It was hot and sunny today so there were lots of butterflies including this small pearl-bordered fritillary.

I thought I saw a drone flying over the valley, but I used the binoculars and realised we had only our second visit from a white stork.

Our mock orange is flowering nicely this year - last year we had a single flower. Anyway, while I was sniffing the flowers I noticed I wasn't alone. This clearwing moth was nectaring. This is also only the second time we've seen this species, Synanthedon cephiformis, a highly endangered species apparently.

Christine is drying some bedstraw and she picked this bug off of one of the plants. I'm not sure what is going on here. Maybe those are parasitoids?

Lastly, a photo of a fly I'll try to identify later.

Tuesday 14 June 2022

There are quite a lot of black-veined white butterflies around at the moment. These two were having 'matrimonial thoughts'.

Here are some photos of male and female Stenurella melanura beetles. Not a new species for the garden, but pretty nonetheless.

Lastly, a couple of photos of a horse-tail that is coming up in our garden. We've never had horse-tails before, so this clearly came in with the new soil in our garden. We'll have to keep that under control, but we've decided to let this one grow as they're interesting herbally.

Black-veined whites, Christophstal June 2022

Black-veined whites, Christophstal June 2022

<em>Stenurella melanura</em>, female, Christophstal June 2022

Stenurella melanura, female, Christophstal June 2022

<em>Stenurella melanura</em>, male, Christophstal June 2022

Stenurella melanura, male, Christophstal June 2022

Horse-tail, Christophstal June 2022

Horse-tail, Christophstal June 2022

Horse-tail, Christophstal June 2022

Horse-tail, Christophstal June 2022

Monday 13 June 2022
<em>Carabus coriaceus</em>, Christophstal June 2022

Carabus coriaceus, Christophstal June 2022

<em>Carabus coriaceus</em>, Christophstal June 2022

Carabus coriaceus, Christophstal June 2022

On our nightly slug patrol, I spotted this 4cm behemoth. It is Carabus coriaceus which coincidentally feeds on slugs and snails amongst other things.

Sunday 12 June 2022

This jumping spider was running around our garden table today and was very interested in what we were doing. I'll try to identify the species soon.

Jumping spider TBI, Christophstal June 2022

Jumping spider TBI, Christophstal June 2022

Jumping spider TBI, Christophstal June 2022

Jumping spider TBI, Christophstal June 2022

Jumping spider TBI, Christophstal June 2022

Jumping spider TBI, Christophstal June 2022

Jumping spider TBI, Christophstal June 2022

Jumping spider TBI, Christophstal June 2022

Saturday 11 June 2022
Knotgrass caterpillar, L3, Christophstal June 2022

Knotgrass caterpillar, L3, Christophstal June 2022

Blood-vein caterpillar, L2, Christophstal June 2022

Blood-vein caterpillar, L2, Christophstal June 2022

Blood-vein caterpillar, L2, Christophstal June 2022

Blood-vein caterpillar, L2, Christophstal June 2022

Caterpillar TBI, Christophstal June 2022

Caterpillar TBI, Christophstal June 2022

Bug TBI, Christophstal June 2022

Bug TBI, Christophstal June 2022

Bug TBI, Christophstal June 2022

Bug TBI, Christophstal June 2022

<em>Cantharis fusca</em>, Christophstal June 2022

Cantharis fusca, Christophstal June 2022

<em>Galeruca tanaceti</em>, Christophstal June 2022

Galeruca tanaceti, Christophstal June 2022

Four spotted footman caterpillar, L5, Christophstal June 2022

Four spotted footman caterpillar, L5, Christophstal June 2022

I'm feeding up three caterpillars at the moment: the knotgrass and the geometrid found under the bird cherry from the 3rd June and a new green one I found on a hazel in our hedge (which I should be able to ID but can't - I thought it was one of the Orthosia family but I can't find a match). The geometrid is big enough now to ID - I'm pretty sure it is a Blood-vein moth.

I've got a few photos of some beetles and bugs which I'll ID soon.

And lastly, this beautiful caterpillar was speeding over one of the rocks in our garden looking for a pupation site. This is a four-spotted footman moth.

Monday 6 June 2022

There are lots of butterflies around this year. In particular, we're seeing lots of small tortoiseshells. Today however, we had a heath fritillary which is always an honour.

Heath fritillary, Christophstal June 2022

Heath fritillary, Christophstal June 2022

Heath fritillary, Christophstal June 2022

Heath fritillary, Christophstal June 2022

Sunday 5 June 2022
Caterpillar TBI, Christophstal June 2022

Caterpillar TBI, Christophstal June 2022

We saw this caterpillar on willow while out for a run today. It looks like this is a scare dagger moth, but they're not normally associated with willow. I wish I'd collected it, they are indeed scarce.

Saturday 4 June 2022

I've got some photos of a bug and a beetle which I'll identify later. I got some nice photos of this Cauchas fibulella moth on a speedwell flower, which is the larval foodplant too.

Our beetle basements have both got resident common lizards.

I couldn't resist a photo of this peony which we transplanted to our cottage garden from a bed near the house which has now been removed.

With all the garden building work now over, we're finding some new plant species popping up in the lawn, like this Hoary cress.

Lastly, this shieldbug nymph was crawling across my shorts today. It required all my skills as a contortionist to get this photo.

Bug TBI, Christophstal June 2022

Bug TBI, Christophstal June 2022

Beetle TBI, Christophstal June 2022

Beetle TBI, Christophstal June 2022

<em>Cauchas fibulella</em>, Christophstal June 2022

Cauchas fibulella, Christophstal June 2022

Common lizard, Christophstal June 2022

Common lizard, Christophstal June 2022

Peony, Christophstal June 2022

Peony, Christophstal June 2022

Hoary cress, Christophstal June 2022

Hoary cress, Christophstal June 2022

Shieldbug nymph, Christophstal June 2022

Shieldbug nymph, Christophstal June 2022

Friday 3 June 2022
Knotgrass caterpillar, Christophstal June 2022

Knotgrass caterpillar, Christophstal June 2022

Knotgrass caterpillar, Christophstal June 2022

Knotgrass caterpillar, Christophstal June 2022

Geometrid caterpillar on bird cherry, Christophstal June 2022

Geometrid caterpillar on bird cherry, Christophstal June 2022

Hawthorn shieldbug (deceased), Christophstal June 2022

Hawthorn shieldbug (deceased), Christophstal June 2022

Wood tiger moth, Christophstal fishponds June 2022

Wood tiger moth, Christophstal fishponds June 2022

I found a couple of caterpillars in the garden today. The first one is a knotgrass moth on honeysuckle. I've found this caterpillar in the garden in the past, but later instars which have always been parasitized. This is an early instar so I'm hoping that I can breed it through to the adult stage. The second caterpillar landed on Christine while we were under our bird cherry. It's a first instar geometrid and is therefore difficult to ID. I'll wait until it is a bit bigger, but in the meantime, it seems to be happy eating bird-cherry.

I found this dead hawthorn shieldbug in one of our vegetable beds. This is a new species for the garden even if it isn't in a particularly healthy condition.

In the late afternoon, I went for a run and was lucky enough to see this wood tiger moth beside the road.

Thursday 2 June 2022

One of the male red-backed shrikes that have been here for the past couple of weeks has hooked-up. It looks like they might be nesting in our hawthorn. Here are some photos of the lucky lad and a few photo of the female collecting nesting material.

Male red-backed shrike, Christophstal June 2022

Male red-backed shrike, Christophstal June 2022

Female red-backed shrike, Christophstal June 2022

Female red-backed shrike, Christophstal June 2022

Female red-backed shrike, Christophstal June 2022

Female red-backed shrike, Christophstal June 2022

Female red-backed shrike, Christophstal June 2022

Female red-backed shrike, Christophstal June 2022

Female red-backed shrike, Christophstal June 2022

Female red-backed shrike, Christophstal June 2022