Sunday, 25 June 2017

The Last Hope

The Last Hope


On Friday evening Adrian Russell asked the question, How many of you have got lots of butterflies in your garden this year? Most butterfly species have been declining in the UK for some years but this season seems to be particularly calamitous. However dire the plight of butterflies in your garden, in the countryside - away from a few oases - it's worse. Agricultural intensification has turned most of the countryside into a biodiversity desert. Gardens might be the last hope.

This year, for various reasons, we have not cut the patch of grass at the back of our house we can no longer, even laughingly, call a lawn. It has bloomed with Timothy and clouds of Yorkshire Fog. It's brimming with grass moths and yesterday the Ringlets arrived. I can't remember ever seeing a Ringlet in our garden before, but I am sure that if we had followed the weekly mowing regime of previous years they wouldn't be there. I can't convey how happy this makes me using mere words.


I'm thinking of buying a cow. Just a small one.


Ringlet, Aphantopus hyperantus.

Nikon D7200
Tokina 100mm f/2.8
f16 1/160 ISO 1600

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Skunkworks Synergetic

Skunkworks Synergetic


Technology marches on and when the County Recorder offered me a loan of a skunkworks moth trap to try out overnight, I was keen to see what would happen. So far, LEDs have proved to be disappointing for moth traps, but this Synergetic/actinic combo performed well above expectations on a cold windy night when my suburban garden in a sea of LED street lighting would never have been expected to produce a list like this:

Bright-line Brown-eye - Lacanobia oleracea 2
Clouded Brindle - Apamea epomidion 2
Codling Moth - Cydia pomonella 1
Dark Arches - Apamea monoglypha 6
Dark Dagger - Acronicta tridens/Grey Dagger - Acronicta psi 1
Flame Shoulder - Ochropleura plecta 1
Garden Carpet - Xanthorhoe fluctuata 1
Garden Grass-veneer - Chrysoteuchia culmella 5
Heart & Dart - Agrotis exclamationis 33
Ingrailed Clay - Diarsia mendica 1
Large Yellow Underwing - Noctua pronuba 2
Lesser Yellow Underwing - Noctua comes 1
Light Brown Apple Moth - Epiphyas postvittana 1
Peppered Moth - Biston betularia 1
Privet Twist - Clepsis consimilana 1
Riband Wave - Idaea aversata 2
The Clay - Mythimna ferrago 1
The Coronet - Craniophora ligustri 2
The Flame - Axylia putris 1
The Gothic - Naenia typica 1
The Uncertain - Hoplodrina octogenaria 7
Treble-bar - Aplocera plagiata 1
Triangle-marked Roller - Ancylis achatana 1

iPhone 6s Plus back camera 4.15mm f2.2 4.2mm 1/50 ISO 32

Friday, 23 June 2017

Grass Moths

Grass Moths

Chrysoteuchia culmellaChrysoteuchia culmella
More information


Nikon D7200
Tokina 100mm f/2.8
f16 1/200 ISO 100

Thursday, 22 June 2017

The Flame

The Flame


Might as well face it you're addicted to moths.

The Flame, Axylia putris.
Learn more: http://www.naturespot.org.uk/species/flame

Nikon D7200
Tokina 100mm f/2.8
f16 1/250 ISO 100

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Swallowtail

Swallow-tailed Moth


Swallow-tailed Moth, Ourapteryx sambucaria.
Learn more: http://www.naturespot.org.uk/species/swallow-tailed-moth

Happy Solstice everyone.

Nikon D7200
Tokina 100mm f/2.8
f16 1/250 ISO 100

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

A Tiny Tale

Syrphoctonus tarsatorius


On 10.05.2017 a Fatsia japonica in my garden was covered in aphids and Syrphus spp. hoverfly larvae. The larvae pupated on 11.05.17 so to work out what species of hoverfly it was I popped one in a pot and waited. On 27.05.2017 a parasitoid wasp rather than a Syrphus emerged from the pupa. This has now been identified by Dr Gavin Broad and his colleague Seraina Klopfstein of the Natural History Museum as Syrphoctonus tarsatorius. Very little is known about hoverfly parasitoids so Sammy the Syrphoctonus has now gone off to live in London at the Natural History Museum.

Although this isn't the first time I have donated specimens to the NHM, Sammy now resides in a drawer jostling for space with Darwin's beetle collection. Which is nice.

On second thoughts, it's The Best Thing EVER.


Syrphoctonus tarsatorius.
Sony ILCE-6000
Canon MP-E 65mm F2.8 G SSM
f16 1/125 ISO 4000


Syrphoctonus tarsatorius

Monday, 19 June 2017

#OneRiver: Croft

OneRiver Croft


It didn't go entirely according to plan. When I started my OneRiver project I only had one shot in mind in advance, the spot where the Soar runs through water meadows and looks magnificent in May. But May was pretty much a wipeout for me - on the few days I was free the skies were leaden and flat. By the time I got to Croft in June, the water level was down and the reeds had grown so much they were almost filling the channel in places. Good for the water meadow but not a match for my mental image of a pristine rushing stream. So in the end, the packhorse bridge won.


Croft | OneRiver.

Sony ILCE-6000
E PZ 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OSS
f11 16mm ISO 100
5 stop HDR.

OneRiver Croft

OneRiver Croft

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Colonel Mustard

Speckled Wood


Speckled Wood, Pararge aegeria.

Nikon D7200
Tokina 100mm f/2.8
f11 1/125 ISO 640