Flycatchers, snakes, hornet and other creatures – Friday 18 June 2021
So much happens at this time of year, albeit 3-4 weeks later than usual.
For the first time in 35 years we have had Spotted Flycatchers in the garden (image 1). They sit up in our hawthorn bush, or on our washing line, and fly out from time to time after insects including this bright orange Social Pear Sawfly (image 2).
We have had our first Grass Snake in the garden under one of our wildlife tins (image 3).
Butterflies have been generally sparse so far and it was good to see this Brimstone. This Brimstone was feeding on ragged robin flowers at the beautiful Conford Moor, (National Trust) to the southeast of Whitehill (image 4). My daughter and I were able to watch two Brimstones in full courting display on marsh thistles and flying spiralling up high together.
Back to the garden and this Hornet appeared in the moth trap (image 5). Pretty fearsome looking when seen close head on, but they are usually quite peaceful.
There have been a few Common Blue Butterflies about. This Common Blue (image 6) was feeding on oxeye daisy at the Winchester Road / Petersfield bypass junction just before the whole area was close mown. This roundabout was a show of oxeye daisies, red campions, spotted orchids and many other flowers supporting myriad pollinating insects; that is, until the mower took over. I have made representations to try and ensure this does not happen again.
As well as the grass snake we have had numerous slow-worms under out wildlife tins (image 7). These legless lizards can grow up to 50cm and are quite harmless.
Waiting for insects to land on oxeye daisies are Flower Crab Spiders (image 8). This spider was at the Winchester Road / Petersfield bypass verge and sitting on the white part of the flower waiting for an unfortunate insect to land on the yellow central part. These spiders change colour according to the flower they are waiting on and wait patiently with their front legs wide open ready to pounce. There was a second smaller species of crab spider on the roundabout and which now has no flowers to wait upon.
A spectacular moth in the trap has been the massive and impressive Privet Hawk-moth (image 9). This is our largest and heaviest hawk moth and here it is in full threat display showing its pink inner wings.
Finally, Mary found this Wasp Beetle on a towel on our washing line. Wasp-like in appearance but feeds on flower pollen and completely harmless.