Monday, 22 July 2013

Moths, Bees and Bat Watching

Here's a little update from my Brixham back garden in a very warm and dry July.

The red-tailed bumble bees absolutely love the wild bit of meadow grass because it has a large number of wild flowers (or weeds!) that attract it. I've looked them up and they are Cats Ear and Hawkbit and I cant stress enough how much the red-tailed bees love it. I hardly see them anywhere else in the garden.

 
You can see the bee is covered in yellow pollen in the image below

 


I have lots of visiting Honey bees on the lavender and on clover in the grass


A rare sight these days a real British Ladybird (not the Harlequins)


My moth invasion - loving all the lavender, valerian and buddleia around the garden. There were about ten or so moths on each group of these plants around the garden. They don't keep still so I just about managed to get these three into one photo.


So out I went to catch one and this is what they look like...is it s Common Swift?



Here are a couple of butterflies I did just about manage to catch on camera. I also rescued a Comma from the greenhouse. I was still in my slippers and trampled about amongst the flowers to get these two with things crawling up my legs!


I know this is not a great picture as it was windy and the leaf kept getting in the way, but this Peacock butterfly has been visiting the garden for a few days and is very keen on this little buddleia. We have also had Red Admirals about and Ringlets.

 
I might need some help with this id but I think it's a gatekeeper? It's a very small butterfly, or maybe a meadow brown? We have a lot of Gatekeepers here in Brixham all along the coastal path, so it makes sense that they would come into the garden too.
 
A few of the flowers in the garden in bloom this month


I really like tagetes, they are lovely en masse like this and I also put them in the greenhouse to deter pests and so far they have worked (second year I've tried this with success)


This is rose Maid of Kent, a present from my friend Kathy. It's doing very well in the garden and starting to grow and spread.



 Quiz.......and what is this large bud?
 

Answer....the bud of the passion flower (but I'm sure you all knew that). I found this poor plant in the garden almost buried under a huge shrub. I cut it and the shrub right back and have been trailing it through and it's starting to do really well. This year there are quite a few flowers coming out. They are really weird looking!


Bat Watching this month July 2013

So far I have seen plenty of the lovely little Pipistrelles flying into and out of the garden. They fly very close to the house and are no doubt catching some of the moths above. They have been arriving at about 9.45pm and seem to be the first out. I had a great watch the other night when it was particularly warm and still. They seemed to love the wild grass area and flew over it many times for about 10 minutes.
I've had a couple of encounters with the 'big bats' The Greater Horseshoe has actually visited a couple of times (instead of just flying over from east to west). It flew very fast and smoothly round a tree and the bird table towards me and back out down the garden (that was on the 5th July). Not so many now that I can see flying over.

How do I tell them apart?
The Pipistrelle is so small (with a wing span of 19-25cm and weight 3-8 grams) compared to the much larger Greater Horseshoe (with a wingspan of 35-40cm and weight 17-34 grams) so you can see that it's easy to spot the difference as they fly about. They also have a different flight, to me the Pipistrelle flutters more and is slower. The Greater Horseshoe is quite fast and much less fluttery in appearance-more of a swoop and a dive (hope that all makes sense)!


Hello and welcome to some new followers...Tom from Beyond The Riverbank, RabbitQuilter, and Lou Mary from Always Look On The Wild Side Of Life . Thanks for taking a look.

It's baking hot here again today 32.8 degrees. We're off for dinner at the Breakwater Bistro this evening and eating outside (hopefully the thunderstorms will wait until we get home).
Have a good week
SeagullSuzie

16 comments:

  1. The moth is a Silver Y. I got one last night for the first time so you did well! I think the butterfly is probably a Meadow Brown (looks very like the ones we have here).

    Gorgeous photos of bees and flowers, and a really lovely post to read. It's all looking marvellous. I am very jealous of your horseshoe bats! CT x

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    1. Thanks CT, and for the moth id. There were so many of them all over the plants, I was quite surprised, no wonder the cat has been staring into the flower beds! I think the meadow browns are bigger-this is really quite a small butterfly. The plastic container I caught it in is a food container so don't tell my husband or he'll never eat from the kitchen again :)

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  2. Beautiful photos
    Julie xxxxxxxx

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    1. Hi Julie, glad to hear you liked them it took me ages to get the orange-tailed bumble bee.

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  3. Lovely photos of your garden flowers, moth and butterflies. Very excited to see your passion flower - I have planted one growing over an arch but it has yet to flower!!

    Agree with CT about the moth being a Silver Y (pretty little moths) - we get them too a lot on valerian. Not 100% sure about butterfly but I think its a Gatekeeper?

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    1. Many thanks. It's really flowering now with plenty of buds and flowers. I must protect the stalk coming out of the ground and think about feeding it next spring-as I think it's been quite neglected. I think it's a Gatekeeper too. We have had a lot of butterfly visitors today and I managed to get a few close-ups so will post them next time.

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  4. Stunning photos, especially of the bees. I love the red-tailed bumblebee covered in pollen. I think your butterfly is a male gatekeeper, but gatekeepers and meadow browns are very similiar. The gatekeepers have just emerged here in the last few days. And I'd love to see all those bats too.

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    1. Thanks Wendy, I was determined to get the red-tailed and am delighted at the pollen covered image. Same here, the gatekeepers are all over the coastal path now and I've had more in the garden today-this warm weather is really bringing them out on show.

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  5. Hope you had a nice meal out and got home before any thunderstorms. Your breakfast out at Berry head sounds wonderful. Those are fantastic photos of the insects and beautiful flowers, especially the bee covered in pollen. I have become much more interested in looking out for moths since reading CT's posts! A good description of the bats the ones vising our garden sound like the Pipistrelle.
    Sarah x

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    1. Hi Sarah, thanks we had a lovely meal and no thunderstorms-it felt like we were abroad it was so warm. The 'moth thing' is developing isn't it? CT has us all going moth mad :)

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  6. Cracking bee photos Seagull! Love the pollen detail - fantastic! Yet to see any gatekeepers here, will be keeping my eyes peeled. Beautiful flowers!

    Tom

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    1. Thanks Tom, the gatekeepers are fully out now and I see some every day. They are so much smaller than I imagined. I saw a lovely butterfly at the garden centre today it was no bigger than my thumbnail and looked like a fritillary of some sort-so I'm off to look that one up!

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  7. Such beautiful photos and what an assortment of wildlife you have, wonderful. I also love the photo of the bee covered in pollen. x

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    1. The red-tailed bees are lovely and I've found they are quite passive around me. The one covered in pollen was just luck...I managed to get everything right and the focus was spot on, so when I enlarged it you could see the pollen clearly (I was secretly quite pleased with is photo) so I'm really happy to hear everyone liked it too.

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  8. I have been seeing quite a few gatekeepers here too, they are more orangey than meadow browns and they have 2 white spots inside the black spot :)

    Lovely flowery summery photos! Great about the bats, we have had a few evenings where they have been swooping through the garden, and I think they were probably pipistrelles too :)

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    1. Hi Lou Mary We get a lot of gatekeepers on the coastal path..in fact we get a lot of everything on the coastal path. I always feel I'm running out of time but should go more often.

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