Some pics!

A couple of Pyrausta aurata moths that seem to love my oregano plants at the moment. Had seen lots of posts on Wild About Britian about them and thought they were really pretty, then suddenly spotted them in my garden and have taken about a million photos now! They can be mistaken for Pyrausta purpuralis.

Another one 🙂

A small copper butterfly in the park

A common blue butterfly in the park (alongside convienient ladybird 🙂 )

As yet unidentified caterpillar. Looks like a geometrid? – also called inchworms or loopers, named because of the way they move, appearing to measure the earth (the word geometrid means earth-measurer in Greek).

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Plant Families

I have started to take much more notice of plants lately, especially edible ones, after discovering garlic mustard last year. It is really easy to spot and delicious in salads.

As a complete noob, I usually look up each plant individually by using a Reader’s Digest book that narrows it down by flower colour and number of petals, or checking online.

I recently came across this website, which gives a different perspective to identifying plants – the “patterns approach”. I ‘d already learned from investigating garlic mustard that all species in its family Cruciferae are edible, but this guide teaches you their characteristics so that you can identify plants in the family easily. Although he is based in the US, the characteristics of the plant families he outlines are applicable anywhere. The illustrations are great and its fun to discover really new and simple things like how a clover actually has lots of tiny Pea flowers.

If you’re interested in foraging for edible plants, I’d recommend the book “Seaweed And Eat It” by Fiona Houston and Xa Milne, which I won in a competition totally by chance, but I’m pretty glad I did. In black and white and with only one small picture of each plant, it is not so great for identifying plants, but it gives you an idea of what the most common things to look for are, so you know what to check for in a guide-book, and has many simple recipe ideas to use them in.

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Out and About

So here are some things I have seen lately in the field by my house…

This is the caterpillar of a knotgrass moth (Acronicta rumicis). It is distinguished from other similar ones by the red and brick coloured triangular patches, which are below its spiracles.

Well, spiracle is a new word for me, so for anybody else who doesn’t know it, here’s the definition: the breathing pores through which insects obtain their air supply. They occur on most segments of the body and lead to the tracheal system.

I can just about spot them on this caterpillar.

They also have white blotches on each side and red spots along the back. They feed on herbaceous plants: docks, plantain, bramble.

Speaking of dock, we also spotted this little fellow (or should I say lady, as this is the female) Gastrophysa viridula, a green beetle that feeds on dock and is sometimes known as a green dock leaf beetle. Mated females become grossly distended so that their elytra do not fully cover the abdomen.

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My first post!

Hello,

This blog is mainly for my use, so that I can gather my favourite photos, thoughts and facts about the wildlife that I come across all in one place. I generally learn about wildlife as I go along. I take my camera and binoculars out, and then use books and the internet to learn more about what I see. If you are stuck with IDing something, I would definitely recommend Wild About Britain.

This is a beautiful butterfly that I saw when walking through a field the other day (which I originally thought was a moth!). It is a Large Skipper.

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