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Tuesday, 16 August 2022

Catchup Time - Garden Observations in June, 2022

With me being confined to barracks with Covid for the first part of June, I was pleased to have our garden to keep me entertained. Here are some of my garden observations.

Thursday, 2nd June

Whilst performing my daily  inspection of the garden, I came upon this caterpillar on one of the Buddleia bushes. I believe that this is my first ever garden record of Mullein moth. This ID is reinforced by it being on one of that species' favourite food plants.

Mullein (Cucullia verbasci) (larva) - garden on 2nd June, 2022
Friday, 3rd June

We are lucky enough to have Bullfinch visit our garden relatively frequently, although I don't recall ever having had more than four at any one time. However, these usually go directly to the very unphotogenic feeding trays, and I don't think I'd ever managed a photo with more than one in, away from that scenario - until this day. The weather was not good, the light was awful and I was a long way away, but here's one 'for the record'.

Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula) (male + female) - garden on 3rd June, 2022
Monday, 6th June

We had just finished lunch in the conservatory on a dull damp day when I noticed something on the edge of the mini-pond. I was a little surprised to find it was a newly emerged Large Red Damselfly. We had observed seventy of these emerge from the pond between 7th and 19th May, but none since, so to have just this one emerge eighteen days later in poor weather conditions caught me off-guard. In the shots that follow you can see that wings and abdomen have yet to be 'pumped up' in the first image. In the second image, the wings are almost at full size, In the third image, the abdomen and wings are fully developed and the damselfly is almost ready for its maiden flight.

Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) (teneral female) - garden on 6th June, 2022

I'm pleased to report that all went well and I witnessed it fly away.

While watching the action, I noticed this ladybird nymph on the edge of the mini-pond. I have no idea of what species it was - I understand that ladybird nymphs are difficult to ID.

Ladybird nymph - garden on 6th June, 2022
I also found this caterpillar, which I believe to be that of a Large White butterfly.

Large White (Pieris brassicae) (larva) - garden on 6th June, 2022
Tuesday, 7th June

Of note this day was the arrival of a teneral male Common Blue Damselfly. Given its state of development, I suspect that it had recently emerged from next door's pond, as there was no evidence of it having emerged from our own pond.

Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum) (teneral male) - garden on 7th June, 2022
Whilst in the garden, I also noticed this hoverfly on some Garlic Mustard.

hoverfly (Eupeodes luniger) (male) - garden on 7th June, 2022
Thursday, 9th June

We are lucky enough to have Hedgehogs visiting on a nightly basis. Recently, we have been having up to four of them on some nights. When they meet up, the result can be a little unpredicatable, seemingly depending on the sex and age of the hogs involved. 

The cameras went out in the evening of 8th June, and caught this meeting in the early hours of the following day.

Sunday, 12th June

I was delighted to be able to photograph a Common Blue butterfly in the garden. We do get the occasional one appear, but they tend to pass through without stopping. This one decided that a viola was attractive.

Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus) (male) - garden on 12th June, 2022
Monday, 13th June

A Hedgehog in daylight is always a source of worry as it usually means a sick hog. The regular appearance of one in  the late evening before dark and early morning after dawn concerned me at first but, having kept a wary eye open in case it appeared to be in trouble, I came to the conclusion that it was possibly a female that needed extra nourishment as it was feeding young. This theory was given more credibility when we started to see two young hogs appearing at the end of July.

Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) - garden on 13th June, 2022
Tuesday, 21st June

I got really excited on this day when I saw a Large Red Damselfly land on a small lily pad in the mini pond. It then moved position and appeared to be ovipositing. However, after it had departed, I could see no evidence of this, and references state that the female of this species oviposits into submerged vegetation, and so something else might have been happening. I didn't want to stay and observe too closely, for fear of disturbing this event!

Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula f. fulvipes) (female) - garden on 21st June, 2022

Garden observations for the rest of the month mainly involved Hedgehogs, so I bring this blog post to a close. My next post will probably be in around a week's time, and see me catching up with July events.

In the meantime, please take good care of yourselves and Nature. Thank you for dropping by - - - Richard


  1. Really enjoyed your latest Garden Obs Richard. I lost count to be honest, but reckon c.10 subjects covered, including the Ladybird Nymph which is a 7-spot.

    Keep On Keeping On Richard, with Kind regards....Pete.

    1. Thank you for your kind words of encouragement, Pete, and that ladybird nymph ID.

      Best wishes - stay safe - - - Richard

  2. Hi Richard, Nice post. I am glad to know the hedgehog is ok. They are worth looking after, mine keeps my garden free from pests. There is one that will feed from my hand which is a great delight. Take care.

    1. We still have up to four hogs visiting, Mike, and the challenge lately has been to make sure that there is plenty of water for them. I'm impressed by you having one that will take food from the hand. I've never tried that! Stay safe - - - Richard

  3. Lovely shots of garden wildlife. Sadly our local Bullfinches appear to have all but disappeared!

    By coincidence I also had my first Mullein Moth caterpillar in the garden which was also on Buddelja, despite having several mulleins in the garden. Some fairly local Great Mullein had quite a lot of these attractive larvae feeding on them this year- the first I've observed locally, so must be having a good year!

    In contrast it's the first year in over a decade I haven't found any Toadflax Brocade larvae on my self-sown (& much loved) Purple Toadflax.

    1. I'm sorry to hear that your Bullfinches have become elusive. Just in the last week, we are not seeing them very often here.

      I've only noticed Mullein larvae beside a local canal, before this one in the garden.

      We too have much, self-seeded, Purple Toadflax in our front garden, and have never thought to check if for larvae. It's nearly all finished now, not helped by the dry weather, but I shall keep an eye open now!

      Best wishes - - - Richard

  4. Good morning, Richard: Miriam was delighted, as you might well imagine, when she saw your header with the Hedgehog. On a scale of adorability they rank especially high and she is one of their biggest fans. In fact a friend of ours sent us a card a couple of years ago featuring a Hedgehog and it has been in a frame ever since! Your little pond is doing well. How remarkable that so small an area can produce such results. Insect populations are greatly diminished here, a cause for increasing concern. I am glad that the temperatures have moderated in the UK; I suspect that you are too. All good wishes to you and Lindsay - David

    1. I'm pleased to hear that the Hedgehog gave Miriam some pleasure, David. I well remember her excitement at having one walk past her feet in our garden!

      More welcome than the lower temperatures was the rain. Frustratingly, a large water butt that I ordered 18 days ago only arrived today - just after the rain stopped. At least I managed to catch some in the small original butt.

      Best wishes to you and Miriam - - - Richard

  5. Hi Richard
    I love the Hedgehog, stunning showing. Also, I am fond the larva, beautiful.

    1. Thank you, Bob. I love having the Hedgehogs visit, and my first job of the day is always to check the cameras to see what activity there has been in the night. Best wishes - - - Richard

  6. Lovely set of photos, hope that the hedgehog was not sick. Cheers Diane

    1. I'm sure that the Hedgehog was fine, Diane. We're still seeing them every night, the little ones have really grown, but we're not getting daylight visits any more.

      Will be thinking of you both and hoping all goes well with the funeral - - - Richard


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