Naturalists' News and Sightings

Cowslips and Apple Blossom

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The Cowslips on Barton Fields are looking particularly good and well spread out this year, no doubt revitalised by a good dose of rain. The Crab Apple is now in full flower. And Warblers are calling throughout the site - good to have them back.

from Graham Bateman: 30 April 2021

Sightings

What's been eating our roses and tomatoes?

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My sharp-eyed grandson spotted this large green caterpillar with yellow ‘go faster’ stripe, eating our tomato plants. It turns out to be the larva of the Bright-line Brown-eye Moth (Lacanobia oleracea) also called the Tomato Moth.

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Today I noticed some shiny boldly-spotted caterpillars with erect stance, eating the leaves of our rose. They turn out to be Large Rose Sawfly larvae. I am happy to share my plants with both of these larvae.

from  David Guyoncourt: 11 September 2021

Turkeytail fungi

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I saw this remarkable cluster of Turkeytail fungi yesterday on the path along the eastern edge of Bagley Wood, at the bottom of Bagley Close gardens. More walks are called for to see how many survive and develop the colour-banding which give it the scientific name, Trametes Versicolor?

from Adrian Allsop: 31 August 2021

Potter Wasp

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This Potter Wasp (Ancistrocerus nigricornis) I thought was feeding on our patch of Marjoram growing in our ‘lawn’, but on closer inspection I could see that it had a small caterpillar in its jaws, possibly a Purple & Gold moth larva which feeds on Marjoram. According to my Collins Guide to British Insects the unfortunate larva will be taken to its mud nest where it will be stung to paralyse it, and stored awaiting consumption by the wasp larva - lovely!

from David Guyoncourt: 22 August 202

Spectacular Brackets

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Stretching 25 ft up an old sweet chestnut tree in Boxhill Wood..

from Tony Richmond: 12 August 202

Uncommon moths

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I've had two uncommon moths in my garden moth trap recently. First was a Scarce Ermine, which hasn't been recorded in VC22 (Berkshire) since 2011. The second was a Toadflax Brocade, which isn't as scarce, although there are only a few records per year from this area.

from  David Hastings: 29 July 2021

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Here's another moth. A Red Underwing which I found at the allotment this morning.

from  David Hastings: 31 July 2021

Purple Emperor Butterfly

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Jo took this photo while out for a walk adjacent to the sustrans track, to the southern end of Thrupp Lake. The butterfly was spotted at around 10.30am on Sunday morning.

from Mike and Jo Turner: 20 July 2021

Scalloped Oak Moth

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We were having coffee in our garden and a Scalloped Oak Moth fluttered in.

from Mike and Jo Turner: 17 July 2021

Blueberry bandit

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Here is a short video of our chief Blueberry Bandit, our cheekiest Blackbird that we call Roger, taking a bath under the very bush from which he's been thieving. I have subsequently netted it, but he had that figured out in minutes. I'm going to need a better net, or get up before he does.

from Tam Richmond: 10 July 2021