Purple Emperors seen at Oversley Wood today. Female in fast flight at eye level – quite a sight – followed by two or three males flitting high up in the pines. A great big tick now goes on my butterfly list!

One enterprising person had left some sardine as a lure and another person had earlier managed to attract a male down to some fish paste. Dog poo also works well!


… it’s raining! Went out to check the moth trap was watertight and well under cover for what promises to be a wet night – and almost stepped on a hedgehog. The first one in the garden for a couple of years and no doubt on the march for the slugs and snails which will now relish the damp ground. Please hang around for a few more evenings.

Interesting (but sad) roadside finds on a local bike ride – a dead bullfinch and a comma butterfly.

Better news… a comma is sunning itself on brambles at the moment, just by the spot where I’ve twice disturbed a bullfinch

in the last few weeks (nesting perhaps?).

The moth trap was running on Banbury Street for the weekly Garden Moth Survey last night (they were released again at dusk, safe from the birds).  Result – 92 moths of almost 50 different species.  Pink and khaki huge Elephant Hawkmoths are always wonderful to see.  A frog had hopped into one of the plant-pots (it’s a foot high, so a big hop) and another smaller one managed to sneak into the house while I was looking at moths in the garden.  Luckily I noticed it, and it wasn’t trapped indoors all night.

The white moth is a Clouded Silver – lovely delicate things.  There were half a dozen Garden Grass Veneers, tiny green-eyed dragon-like beasties.  The final one, a rather poor photo of a rather dull moth, was only the fourth record of this species in Warwickshire – Spindle Knot-horn (Nephopterix angustella) – I’ve had three of them now.  Must be living in the spindle in the hedges along Banbury Road.


Three, yes three, Scarlet Tiger moths in the trap last night – an unexpected midsummer treat when I delved into the egg boxes this morning.
Brilliant colours – a real treat!
They often fly during the day and can be easily disturbed, so worth looking out for.
This moth has a proboscis which means it can take nectar – some species never eat at all as adults but live on the stored fat they built up as caterpillars. They live to breed and, once that job is over, they simply fade and die.

Six eggs in our robin box,
Six plump blackbirds in a nest in the ivy,
Six blackbird eggs in a lime tree (a little higher than might be expected),
Six baby great tits in a nestbox,
And all are within six metres of each other.