Archive for the ‘Snapshots of the day’ Category

Painted lady butterfly (Vanessa cardui) on Mahonia this week

I felt a bit depressed as I sat at my desk on Friday morning, overwhelmed by working full-time from home, an unwell husband and all the housework. But blue skies and a couple of “exciting” nature observations brightened my mood no end…

We pruned our huge Mahonia brutally last year but it has come back better than ever, its yellow flowers attracting so much wildlife with their pollen – and later the berries. It was the subject of one of my very early blog posts in November 2009 – see here.

I picked up my camera and zoomed in on a butterfly I didn’t quite recognise and it turned out to be a painted lady (Vanessa cardui) – we see many speckled wood (Pararge aegeria) and holly blue (Celastrina argiolus) butterflies in our garden but I don’t think I have ever seen a painted lady before. (more…)

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Brimstone moth (Opisthograptis luteolata) in the bathroom at night

Sadly I don’t see many moths these days but the other night I noticed this medium-sized yellow moth perched on the bathroom tiles. I caught it in a glass and tried to make it go out through the window but of course it came straight back, attracted by the bright light. It soon disappeared behind a light fitting and I have not seen it since. I looked it up and it is a common British moth, the brimstone moth (Opisthograptis luteolata).

This reminded me that I saw another moth back in the heady days of July but forgot to blog about it at the time…

Mystery moth viewed through the bathroom window…

…view from outside the bathroom window – the moth stayed on the glass in bright sunlight for several hours

The medium-sized moth was spectacular but turned out to be an invasive species accidentally imported from south-east Asia. It is known as the box-tree moth (Cydalima perspectalis) and was first seen in Kent in 2007. It has now spread through southern Britain. The larvae feed on box-tree foliage.

I did encounter a third moth over the last month, but was so keen to remove it from the house that I did not take a photo. It was a very dark shadow on the curtain net one night and turned out to be a large Mormo maura, the old lady moth or black underwing, It looked very sinister. I caught it in a glass and released it under a street light.

Although I didn’t snap it this time, I found that I had taken this picture of an old lady moth on an outside wall on July 18, 2011…

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Juvenile great spotted woodpecker [Dendrocopos major] in the garden, its beak messy with fat from the feeder

I thought our great spotted woodpeckers had failed to breed this year as for a long time all I saw was a solitary male. But a couple of weeks ago this young one appeared – although the top of its head is now fading from bright orange to red. The adult female has no red on its head and the adult male a red patch on the nape.

The other young birds are also growing up now…

Young blackbird [Turdus merula] on the bird bath

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Young song thrush (Turdus philomena) viewed from my study desk yesterday – at the moment the thrushes are making their loud and repetitive calls all day and every day

Sadly I have become blasé about young birds in the garden in recent years. I used to snap a photo of every little bird through the kitchen window but now I don’t even count how many babies the blackbirds, robins, blue tits and great tits have. These families have all been very successful this year, as have the nuthatches.

This time I am missing the baby starlings (see a previous post here) and although there is a male great spotted woodpecker around, it does not seem to have a family this time (see a previous post here).

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I probably wouldn’t have bothered snapping these in my local shopping street in Canton, Cardiff, but for the fact that there were three of them together. Someone needs to get their signs sorted. Sorry the missing letters don’t make them humorous…

Canton Discounts

Square Foot estate agents

Custom Cutz hair stylists

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This lovely golden Kalanchoe on the kitchen windowsill brightens my spirits when I am washing up the dishes…

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I saw this in someone’s hedge today – a mass of blue lights with a bunch of yellow daffodils – the colours of the flag of Ukraine, to show solidarity in these terrible times…

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A splash of colour in a streetside garden – Chaenomeles or flowering quince

You can smell this from a great distance – the wonderful Sarcococca confusa or Christmas box

Another strongly-scented flower – Daphne in my own garden

A long-lasting winter favourite that always looks old-fashioned to me – Viburnum tinus in a streetside garden

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Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) in my Cardiff garden today – slightly out of focus but at last I caught it on camera…

I had considered posting an image every day in 2022 but that’s never going to happen. So I have decided on an occasional item as often as I can manage it. I have missed my chance over the last couple of hectic weeks so before I start this project properly, here is a catch-up of pictures I would have published one-by-one, had I not been too busy…

January 6, 2022: A red dawn today before a cold rain began

January 5, 2022: Frosted moss on the roof

New Year’s Eve, 2021: A festive snowman decoration

Boxing Day, 2021: Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) in the garden

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