Monday, 16 July 2018

Sleepy time

A curious insect flew directly over our house last week - the sinister-looking Trumpocopter carrying its bizarre occupant to supper at Blenheim Palace. A neighbour got the excellent snap of it, above. Much more welcome was the successful chrysalisation of our granddaughter's White Ermine caterpillars, hatched from the eggs laid by an adult female which she carefully took home with her after staying here two months ago.

So ends an epic of domestic care, a tribute to my son and daughter-in-law's entire family, neighbours and other relatives who scoured Walthamstow in east London for dandelions. Many lessons were learned by the experience, especially how much small caterpillars (a) eat and (b) poo. I hope that the timing of the next stage is such that the children see an emergence, although the granddaughter has already had the good fortune to watch a hatching at the Natural History Museum. "And do you know the first thing it did, Grandpa?" she said. "A huge poo!" Thus does one of the wonders of Nature appear to the eyes of a small, eager and very realistic child!

When we got back from London, we were greeted by this lovely Brimstone on our doormat, one of the newly-emerged brood who are flying here in great numbers. For various reasons, it has been extremely busy here but I must find time for a butterfly walk as there are hundreds of them around in the glorious and continuing sunshine.

The moth trap continues busy with a nice Coxcomb Prominent calling a couple of nights ago along with these visitors, below: from the top left, clockwise: a freshly-emerged Campiopn I think - the pinky-purple distinguishing it from the very similar Lychnis; a Brimstone (moth as opposed to butterfly), an Early Thorn and a lovely, metalically-jewelled Gold Spot.

Last night brought, inter many alia, a Pale Prominent, Nut-tree Tussock, Dusky Thorn (I think) and the delicately pretty Marbled Beauty.

Less happily, a hedgehog came to grief in the garden, below. A sad sight and one we have seen before when another got snared in our badminton net. But they are pretty abundant here so we  expect to hear their scurrying and snuffling on another of these warm evenings soon.

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