Saturday, July 24

Big butterfly count and other little creatures

This week Butterfly Conservation are running a butterfly count. It's similar to the RSPB bird count - you have to count the largest number of a single species seen in one place at a given time. If you thought counting a flock of sparrows was difficult then try counting and identifying  butterflies as they flit about! If you don't know a peacock from a comma there is a downloadable chart to help. If you fancy having a go the website with all the details is here

The buddleias are on flower both in our garden and on the plot and are definitely a bee magnet - this afternoon the butterflies seemed to prefer the lavender!

I was really happy to see plenty of honey bees, as well as the usual bumble bees, browsing - the one below is a bit out of focus but the bees just won't co-operate and keep still! Taking photos does let you observe things more closely as I have never seen a honey bees tongue as clearly before - can you spot it?

There were also lots of newly 'hatched' ladybirds - when they are new they are a paler orange rather than the bright red. I say hatched but I should really say emerged as they emerge from pupas like the one in the photo below that I spotted cemented to a poppy leaf.

I said earlier that taking photos was a good way of observing things closely. I often spot something in a photo that I didn't see when taking it. Can you spot another ladybird pupa attached to the back of this rudbeckia? It's just peeking out from behind a petal on the right of the photo.

If you didn't know what a ladybird pupa looked like before - you do now so please don't squish them or their larva. Ladybird larva are friends and eat even more aphids than grown ladybirds. They don't look anything like the adults so if you don't know what they look like then - true Delia fashion - here's one I took earlier.

If you're interested a while ago I made a short video of the ladybird's life cycle for my website which is on this page.

I've also a short video of a butterfly life cycle here. There are photos of the butterflies we get on our plot on this page too.


  1. de merveilleuses photos sur votre blog

  2. AnonymousJuly 25, 2010

    This year I have noticed for the first time ladybird larva. They were probably here before, but I didn’t notice them. They are amazing. I was moving them to my beans that had some aphid problems. Later I have found ladybird pupas on bean plants.

  3. Salut Titi, je suis visité votre blog et j'aime beaucoup vos photos aussi! Nous avons pris quelques photos de Milau quand nous avons traversé le pont en route de nos vacances dans le sud. J'aime aussi vos photos des fleurs.

    Hi Vrtlarica - It's amazing how many people have said they didn't know what they were and squash them

  4. We are quite accustomed to the life-cycle of butterflies. But not ladybirds. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Hi Bangchik,
    Your butterflies are a bit more dramatic than ours. I saw the photo of the one on your blog which was magnificient

  6. Thanks for sharing about butterfly count and the ladybird larva.

  7. Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment Ron - anything to help stopped ladybirds being squished

  8. I've seen a few of those larvae around and wondered what they were. Our butterfly bush isn't flowering yet but when it does it's covered in them, I must learn to identify the different species.

  9. thanks for sharing the ladybird life cycle...I have seen lots of these bugs on my plot and although I never squished them I didn't know what they when i see one running across the earth I will know where to place it to give it a better home..

  10. Damo - I've photos of the ones seen in or garden and on the plot on the page about butterfly lifecycles on my website - some of the little brown ones are a bit difficult and I can't tell one moth from another!

    Glad you didn't squsih any, Tanya - free biological control!


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