Not Just Any Duck

Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) are often taken for granted, but I hadn’t seen one for quite sometime. So when I came across several males and females on the local canal they were a pure delight to see as they paddled across the still waters with autumn reflections.

The Unknown

I came across this green, wavering cushion which is around 25 mm (1 in) in diameter in my birdbath. The water is crystal clear, but here was this thing quite happily growing there. I don’t know what it is. It might be an alga of some kind, or it could be be something from outer… Read More The Unknown

Kentish Snail

x3 images. Double click to enlarge. The Kentish Snail (Monacha (Monacha) cantiana) is one of the commonest snails I notice on my walks along the edge of local woodland. The shell has a lovely mottled appearance, which can vary. It is one that can be found in gardens, too, but I have not seen any here… Read More Kentish Snail

Netted Slug

Gardeners probably won’t like this one. The Netted Slug (Deroceras (Deroceras) reticulatum) is very much hated as a pest as it eats the leaves of many various plants and crops, including seedlings. It also goes by the names as the Field Slug or Grey Field Slug.

Pergamasus

x3 images. Double click to enlarge. I just really like some names of species (or in this case the genus) so I used it as the title for this post. Pergamasus are verocious predatory mites of soil and leaf-litter. And unfortunately not much more info is forthcoming. Here are three individuals I discovered .. yep,… Read More Pergamasus

Spotlight on The Grey Dagger Acronicta psi 

There are two very similar ‘dagger’ species in Britain, the Grey Dagger (Acronicta psi) and the Dark Dagger (Acronicta tridens). The adults cannot be accurately identified visually without genital dissection and microscopic scrutiny – but I don’t like to harm them so this adult would be recorded as an aggregate species Acronicta psi/tridens. The adult is readily… Read More Spotlight on The Grey Dagger Acronicta psi 

999 Species

I have now recorded 999 species on this website, from plants to animals, fungi and even a cyanobacterium. I have stopped short of making this post ‘1000’ as the 999th species convinced me to use it as a marker milestone. Not surprising it happens to be an invertebrate, an arthropod, and an insect at that.… Read More 999 Species

Caught Napping

Greenfinch (Chloris chloris) – I caught this one intially taking a few sips of water from my birdbath. I was looking through my patio window, and thought to myself I bet I won’t have time to swap over lenses, will I? I had my macro lens on, and I half expected the bird to fly,… Read More Caught Napping

I can See You

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) – In a large field close to the river these birds hide in the tall grasses. I have seen them a few times now, and one can easily pass them by without knowing – unless you stray too near them, and then they take flight on their wide arching wings. This… Read More I can See You

Snake Drama

Grass Snake (Natrix helvetica) – Strolling along the canal, the light ever changing as slate grey clouds block the sun, threatening rain again, and seeing me with my camera, a friendly fisherman calls out, “There’s a frog being eaten by a snake over there!” I pass under a nearby canal bridge built during the Industrial… Read More Snake Drama

Small Copper

Lycaena phlaeas – One of my favourite of the small butterflies, but one I see much too infrequently here. But thankfully, according to Butterfly Conservation, its priority is low and it is not threatened here in Britain or across Europe as a whole. I came across this one in a local field settled on Oxeye… Read More Small Copper

Garlic Mustard

Alliaria petiolata – You know when spring is near when you see these large green leaves start to appear on woodland margins or in hedgerows, amongst other places. It soon grows and the clusters of small white flowers soon show. If the large leaves are crushed they will give off a distinct smell of garlic. The… Read More Garlic Mustard

Wainscot Smudge

Ypsolopha scabrella – Quite an extraordinary looking little moth with distinctive raised tufts which can be seen when the moth is at rest. Copyright: Peter Hillman Camera used: Nikon D7200 Date taken: 20th July 2017 Place: Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, Staffordshire  

White Campion

Silene latifolia – This is one of my favourite wild flowers, and it is always a pleasure to see on my walks. According to fossil records it was introduced to Britain during the Bronze Age. It flowers between May and October across much of Britain, except the far north and west. Copyright: Peter Hillman Camera… Read More White Campion

Garden Rose Tortrix

Acleris variegana – An extremely variable micro-moth species in patterning and colouration. A melanic form also occurs. Like other similar species of Tortrix, it mimics bird-droppings to evade predation. The larvae feed on the leaves of a variety of trees and shrubs, including roses, brambles, hawthorns, cherries and apples. Copyright: Peter Hillman Camera used: Nikon… Read More Garden Rose Tortrix

Old Lady

Mormo maura – You know when this one pays a visit because it is fairly large with a wingspan of up to 65mm (2 1/2in). Not one of the brightest of moths, but it has an interesting, fine-lined pattern. Copyright: Peter Hillman Camera used: Nikon D7200 Date taken: 26th August 2017 Place: Attracted to moth… Read More Old Lady

Ash-bark Knot-horn

Euzophera pinguis – Quite an unmistakable micro-moth with distinctive zig-zag markings. The larvae feed under the living bark of ash, which if becoming infested may kill the tree. This is a localised species in England. Copyright: Peter Hillman Camera used: Nikon D7200 Date taken: 20th July 2017 Place: Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, Staffordshire… Read More Ash-bark Knot-horn

Common Plume

Emmelina monodactyla – An odd-looking moth which often rests with its wings rolled tightly up. It is quite a weak flier, and will only travel a short distance before settling down again. Copyright: Peter Hillman Camera used: Nikon D7200 Date taken: 8th July 2017 Place: Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, Staffordshire  

Iron Prominent

Notodonta dromedarius – A moth which looks like it is suffering from oxidation with its distinct red rusty markings. One of the easier of the night lepidoptera to photograph. They are fairly calm and will remain still for a long time. Copyright: Peter Hillman Camera used: Nikon D7200 Date taken: 20th July 2017 Place: Attracted… Read More Iron Prominent

The Drinker

Euthrix potatoria – An unusual moth. This is the female of the species. The name comes from the habit of the caterpillar which apparently has a preference for drinking drops of dew. Copyright: Peter Hillman Camera used: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38 Date taken: 26th June 2011 Place: Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, Staffordshire  

Maiden’s Blush

Cyclophora punctaria – A finely detailed and beautifully coloured moth from the family Geometridae. Copyright: Peter Hillman Camera used: Nikon D7200 Date taken: 20th July 2017 Place: Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, Staffordshire  

Lunar Underwing

Omphaloscelis lunosa – There is a dark ‘crescent moon’ marking on the pale underwing of this moth which gives it its name. Copyright: Peter Hillman Camera used: Nikon D7200 Date taken: 23rd, 24th & 30th September 2017 Place: Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, Staffordshire  

Barred Sallow

Tiliacea aurago – Although this is somewhat faded, it is quite an attractive moth with autumnal colours and a very diagnostic yellow or yellow-orange central band. Copyright: Peter Hillman Camera used: Nikon D7200 Date taken: 15th October 2017 Place: Attracted to moth trap, rear garden, Staffordshire  

Scarlet Tiger

Callimorpha dominula – This is a wonderfully bright coloured day-flying moth. I found the larva to the adult above feeding on Common Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) on a walk along a local woodland margin back in the spring of 2012. Copyright: Peter Hillman Camera used: Nikon D7200 (2019) Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38 (2012) Date taken: 29th June… Read More Scarlet Tiger

Heather Knot-horn

Pempelia palumbella – This is another rarity for my county, and only a few have been noted by the Staffordshire Ecological Record, most of these before 1995, the first in 1877. I really like the colours and patterns on this moth. It kind of reminds me of Inca art and design. Copyright: Peter Hillman Camera… Read More Heather Knot-horn

Small Emerald

Hemistola chrysoprasaria – This is rarely seen in my county, and there has only been but a handful of ecologically recorded sightings since the first one in 1967, this one being one of them. A beautiful green moth with distinctive pale crosslines. Copyright: Peter Hillman Camera used: Nikon D7200 Date taken: 8th July 2017 Place:… Read More Small Emerald

Honeysuckle Moth

Ypsolopha dentella – If you grow honeysuckle in your garden the chances are you may have some of these. This is a chestnut-brown and cream to whitish patterned micro-moth with distinctive upturned wingtips. It has a forewing length of around 11mm ( almost half an inch). Copyright: Peter Hillman Camera used: Nikon D7200 Date taken:… Read More Honeysuckle Moth