Thursday, 23 July 2015

Community Garden, Shadwell

Had the pleasure this afternoon to visit a community garden in Shadwell, Tower Hamlets. It is housing association owned and beside a block of flats and 4 1/2 years ago it was rat infested waste ground and ear marked to be developed as a car park. Now it is a beautiful community garden with colourful flower beds which were alive with bees; a pond which is now home to frogs and newts. There is a Mediterranean like area, lots of seating and meandering paths where at each corner there is something new to be seen. This has all been achieved by one local resident and now a small team of volunteers who should all be commended. My few pictures below taken with my mobile phone really don't do it justice but give a flavour of it.

And a few fancy chickens!

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Garden Wildlife

Lovely sunny day in the garden today and I had time to snap some of the wildlife,
female Meadow Brown

Field Grasshopper Chorthippus brunneus

Brown Plume Stenoptilia pterodactyla
female Gatekeeper

Grass-veneer Chrysoteuchia culmella

Syritta pipiens

Lots of these flowering in the garden love-in-the-mist

Monday, 20 July 2015

Oak Eggar Lasiocampa quercus

I found this female Oak Eggar Lasiocampa quercus in my kitchen two nights ago, it was safely captured and released.

Wingspan 45-75 mm.

The Oak Eggar, despite its name, does not feed on Oak, but is so-called because the shape of its cocoon is acorn-like. The foodplants are mainly heather (Calluna) and bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), but also include bramble (Rubus), Sallows (Salix), broom (Cytisus scoparius), sloe (Prunus spinosa), hawthorn (Crataegus), hazel (Corylus) and Sea-buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides).

The red-brown males fly during the day, especially in sunshine, whereas the larger, paler females are nocturnal and can be attracted to light. The normal flight period in lowland southern Britain is July to August, and in the north from late May to early July. Adults from northern moors, and some dunes and southern heaths, are often larger and darker than most southern forms.

In the north of Britain, development takes two years, in the south one year, with a zone in the Midlands and Welsh borders where it varies, probably with variation in the climate from year to year. Formerly, northern populations with a two-year cycle were given sub-specific status as the Northern eggar (Lasiocampa quercus callunae), but the situation is not as clear-cut as previously thought.

The larvae change considerably in appearance during development, and care should be taken not to confuse early instars with the larvae of other eggars (Trichiura, Eriogaster and Lasiocampa species). Fox moth (Macrothylacia rubi) and the Drinker (Euthrix potatoria) should be checked when identifying last instar larvae. Early instar larvae from moorlands are often duller, especially on the dorsum, than larvae from other habitats.

When the two-year cycle is followed, larvae usually live from July to the September of the following year, and pupae overwinter from September to May. One-year cycle larvae usually live from September to May, with pupae in June. Rearing larvae indoors can accelerate development.

Info taken from UKmoths website