Dutch butterflies have a good September


This French video is about male and female speckled wood butterflies.

The Dutch Butterfly foundation reports about butterflies in the Netherlands, so far this September.

Usually, in September butterfly numbers go down.

However, so far this month, the numbers go up.

Especially speckled wood butterflies contribute to this rise, being much more numerous than in previous years.

Also, map butterflies.

Tropical butterflies in the botanical garden


This video is called Butterfly ‘Morpho peleides’ in the Botanic Garden of Belgium.

Today, to our botanical garden.

In the Victoria amazonica hothouse, we met the garden’s beekeeper. Two months ago, he was put in charge of the garden’s butterfly breeding program as well.

Various South and Central American butterfly species live in this hothouse. Including Dryas julia. One individual sat on top of a plant. However, another one had died of old age, and drowned. Fish had eaten parts of its wings. The Dryas butterflies lay their eggs on Passiflora plants in the hothouse.

Two beautiful blue freshly hatched Morpho peleides butterflies took off for a flight together over the Victoria amazonica pond. Mating takes about 30 hours. Females lay their eggs only on Mucuna atrocarpa plants, of which there is only one in the hothouse. So, the beekeeper knows where to look for eggs to bring to safety in the caterpillar box. Next to the caterpillar box is a pupa box, which is opened when butterflies hatch.

Other species in the hothouse are Caligo owl butterflies, even bigger than Morphos. And glasswinged butterflies (Greta oto).

The best season for butterfly reproduction in the hothouse is summer. They are sensitive to temperature change.

Years ago, there were smaller butterflies from Africa in this hothouse. That did not work well: sometimes, the hothouse windows were open and the butterflies escaped. Now, when windows are open, there are butterfly nets to prevent escapes.

In the Victoria pond are a Pangasius shark catfish, at least one goldfish, and various small fishes.

Outside, two ring-necked parakeets on a tree in the fern garden. Great tit sound.

A pondskater in the stream.

Two butterflies, not as big or spectacular as their relatives in the hothouse, but still beautiful: speckled wood.

In the water near the exit of the garden, two coots feeding on duckweed.

Rare moth in English garden


This video says about itself:

This is footage of a couple of oleander hawk moths emerging from their cocoons. Found the caterpillars while cutting back our oleander bushes. Did a little research into what they were and decided to put a few in a box to see what happened. Watched them feed, shed skin, cocoon and then managed to see these ones emerge about a couple of weeks later. These are very beautiful moths, and quite large. We measured one with a wing span of 11cm. That to me is a big moth. Was very interesting to see it change from a caterpillar through all the different stages it went through into a fabulous moth.

From Wildlife Extra:

Very rare moth spotted in a Gloucestershire garden

One of the UK’s rarest and most spectacular moths has been spotted in a Gloucestershire garden – the first time it has been seen in the county for eight years, wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation (BC) has revealed.

BC Gloucestershire Branch has only ever received five records of the moth being seen in the county, with the last in 2006.

The oleander hawk-moth was recently recorded in the Cotswolds by Jean Booth, who found it near to her tobacco flowers – a known food plant of the giant moth.

The moth can be identified by the swirling cream and pinkish-brown markings on its green coloured forewing. A white band across the front end of its abdomen is also distinctive.

BC Gloucestershire Branch member Mrs Booth from Gretton near Winchcombe, said: “When I saw this great big moth by the plants I knew it was a hawk-moth, but it wasn’t one I’d seen before so I had to go and check my books.

“When I realised it was an oleander, all I could think was ‘Wow’! It was so big and had the most beautiful markings. I’ve only been recording moths for just over a year and still can’t believe this rare migrant made its way to my garden.”

There have been very few recent sightings of the oleander hawk-moth in the UK as it breeds abroad in very warm, open places.

If it does make its way over here, it is often to southern England between August and October. The most reported in any one year was in 1953 when a total of 13 were seen.

The wildlife charity’s Head of Moth Conservation, Mark Parsons, says it was a wonderful find: “This large and striking moth is rarely encountered in this country and is not seen every year. This individual probably originates from North Africa, which has perfect breeding conditions for this species. Jean was extremely lucky to see one of these magnificent moths, as most recorders never see one during a lifetime of recording.”

Anyone interested in taking up mothing or finding out more about Gloucestershire’s moths, are invited to join a special event taking place in Coleford on Friday 19 September. Find out more by visiting www.gloucestershire-butterflies.org.uk.

Rare bees discovered in Cornwall


This video from Britain is called Cornwall Wildlife Trust Nature Reserves.

From Wildlife Extra:

Very rare bees found on new Cornish Bartinney Nature Reserve

Two very rare species of bee have been discovered on the new Bartinney Nature Reserve near Sennen in west Penwith, reports the Cornwall Wildlife Trust.

The tormentil nomad bee (Nomada robertjeotiana) is so rare that it is only currently known at one other site in the south west, near Davidstow.

This species uses the nests of another rare bee, the tormentil mining bee (Andrena tarsata), known to only three UK sites and also discovered at Bartinney. Both are moorland species that have undergone a dramatic decline since the 1970s.

This video is called Andrena tarsata bee on tormentil.

Paddy Saunders, the invertebrate expert who discovered both species of bee during a survey for Natural England said: “The tormentil mining bee needs lots and lots of flowering tormentil very near to nest sites, from which to collect pollen to feed their larvae that live in small chambers slightly underground.

“It is unusual to find such big colonies of tormentil mining bee and the Trust’s Bartinney Nature Reserve, with its big drifts of flowering tormentil, is clearly an important site for them.

“The tormentil nomad bee is a ‘cuckoo’ bee that nips into the tomentil mining bee’s nest, where it lays an egg. Once hatched the nomad’s larvae eats all the pollen that the other bee has done all the hard work to collect!

“It needs a big tormentil mining bee colony to sustain a population of the nomad. The fact that Bartinney Nature Reserve supports both these rare bees is very significant.”

Liz Cox, Wild Penwith Project Manager for Cornwall Wildlife Trust said: “Open flower-rich habitats are vital for wildlife, including these bees, and this find highlights the importance of managing Penwith’s moors and downs to ensure such areas are kept open and not lost to invading scrub or bracken.”

“Bartinney Nature Reserve is one of the two reserves that the Trust recently bought thanks to public donations and funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and I am sure everyone involved will be thrilled to know that the site is already playing an important role in protecting Penwith’s wildlife!”

Andrew Whitehouse, South West Manager at Buglife said: “Both of these bees have been identified by our South West Bees Project as being in need of conservation action.

“We are encouraged to find that both species have been found at Bartinney, and we hope to work closely with Cornwall Wildlife Trust and Natural England to ensure that these nationally important populations thrive.”

To find out more about Bartinney Nature Reserve go here.

Dragonfly feeding, video


This video is about a vagrant darter dragonfly feeding.

Marjo Steffen in the Netherlands made this video.

Fungi, birds and wasps of Meijendel


Big rose bedeguar gall, 6 September 2014

This is a photo of a rose bedeguar gall on a dog rose leaf in the Kikkervalleien area of Meijendel nature reserve, on 6 September 2014.

This blog has already reported about amphibians there on that day. Now, about fungi, birds and the small wasps, only three millimetre for males, four for females, Diplolepis rosae, which cause these galls.

Soon after our arrival at Meijendel, great spotted woodpecker sound.

Along the cycle track, Lactarius controversus fungi.

Next, Inocybe serotina mushrooms.

Then, brown roll-rim.

And stinking dapperling.

Two common pochard ducks swimming in a lake.

In another lake, tufted ducks, mallards and coots.

Lepiota alba fungi.

Nine gray lag geese flying overhead.

We arrived at the Kikkervalleien area of Meijendel, usually closed to the public.

Then, we saw the dog rose plant of the first photo of this blog post.

Small rose bedeguar gall, 6 September 2014

That plant had more galls than the one on the first photo; like the one on this photo, usually smaller ones. If a small Diplolepis rosae wasp lays an egg on a leaf, then the plant reacts by building a gall around the egg, protecting it. This wasp species was named originally by Linnaeus.

Winter stalkball fungi on the footpath.

A great cormorant flying overhead.

Scotch bonnet mushrooms.

Many rabbit droppings.

Witch's hat, 6 September 2014

A beautiful red mushroom: a witch’s hat.

Two carrion crows.

Then, five greenshanks on migration, flying overhead.

At the next lake, two mute swans. First on the bank, then swimming.

Hygrocybe sp., 6 September 2014

Another beautiful red mushroom. A witch’s hat? Or a vermilion waxcap? This genus, Hygrocybe, is not easy.

We find another gall: a Pontania collactanea wasp caused this one.

Three great egrets flying.

Hygrocybe sp., Kikkervalleien, 6 September 2014

More beautiful Hygrocybe fungi. Still difficult to say which species.

Hygrocybe sp., in Kikkervalleien, 6 September 2014

As we leave the Kikkervalleien for other parts of Meijendel, other mushrooms: death caps.

Stay tuned for the Kikkervalleien plants on this blog!

Birds, butterflies and fungi


This video is about an Eurasian Nuthatch (Sitta europaea).

On Sunday 7 September 2014, to two pieces of woodland on the outskirts of Leiden city.

In a ditch near the Bos van Bosman, two coots and a moorhen swimming.

Sounds of nuthatch, great tit and great spotted woodpecker.

Two speckled wood butterflies flying.

A robin on the footpath.

A magpie on a lawn.

On another lawn, fungi: common ink cap and amethyst deceiver.

Later, in Rhijngeest woodland, porcelain fungi growing on a fallen branch.