London (change)
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02/01/2014 at 17:44
A brilliant piece Richard and demonstrating what we can all do very easily in our own gardens - Grow the right plants for the right species!

With a little bit of homework and the help of the internet, it is very easy to find what species exist in your own local area and then match the food plant. However we must remember the food plant for the caterpillar is often different to an adult butterfly. It is this larval food plant that we need to consider on top of the pollen rich flowers that we all usually associate with butterflies.

Last winter I planted several Alder Buckthorn bushes in among my native hedgerow that I am currently trying to develop. To include these types of 'larval' food plants in a planting scheme such as a native hedgerow is an easy way to include them in your garden and of vital importance to the long-term survival of many species. Therefore I support your sentiments for every gardener to plant at least one Buckthorn or Alder Buckthorn in their garden. Together we can all make a real difference!!
Best regards
02/01/2014 at 18:24

 These peacocks though they were hibernating in the woodshed but had to be rehoused if not to be burnt

03/01/2014 at 16:50

Good to see a good number and someone who is prepared to take the time to move them. Good Work!!

Where did you relocate them out of interest? Was it another shed or a butterfly box or somewhere completely different?


03/01/2014 at 16:54

They're back in the woodshed but out of the danger zone.

This place is more nature reserve than garden higgy.

But I haven't seen any Brimstones on the move.

03/01/2014 at 17:07

Sounds like my dream garden (a nature reserve!!) My garden is the same and I've been trying to get more wildlife in since we moved in four years ago.

I was really pleased to reach 20 different species of butterfly recorded in the garden last summer and these do include the Bimstone! LOL

My last sighting was this Red Admiral on 30th November.



03/01/2014 at 17:19

I shall have to count the butterflies in the summer. I was very short of blues this year.

Holly or common. Speckled wood were much increased.


03/01/2014 at 17:29

Yes it's interesting to see what comes in and don't forget that the Butterfly Conservation Group do a big butterfly count similar to the RSPB Garden Bird Count every summer.

I have been attempting to record and photograph every new species that I find in the garden and this includes all invertebrates, birds, mammals etc...

One thing I will say is that it is absolutely fascinating especially when you have to start trying to identify insects and sub species etc! It does however become a little bit addictive but makes all the planning and hard work well worth it somehow. I always feel somehow a little flattered when another new species turns up in the garden!

In four years we have managed to record 45 species of bird, 20 butterfly, well over 100 moth species (just this summer!). I haven't counted all the invertebrates as there have been loads but do have them all recorded and in most cases photographed! This is partly how the blog developed to display the results which even took me by surprise!

I find it really interesting but if you decide to do it you will get hooked!!



03/01/2014 at 17:33

Too late higgy

Already hooked

03/01/2014 at 18:04

Ha ha, Glad to hear it!!

Apparently we're all 'special people'!! LOL

Do you keep records/photographs also?

03/01/2014 at 18:19

Lots of photos. Not very accurate records except for moths and that's down to the friend who does most of the ID work when we trap. I have listings for each trapping but have never collated it all. 

ID isn't my strong point. I spend hours with binoculars on the bird feeders, book in hand, eventually  working out that the new visitor is a reed bunting or a brambling or a coal tit. They haven't turned up yet this year, just the usual suspects; chaffinch, greenfinch, goldfinch, blue tit, great tit, greater spotted woodpecker and jay.

Maybe this will be the year of accurate record keeping Maybe


03/01/2014 at 18:28

Ah sounds good,

Don't despair they will turn up as I was feeling the same about my Blackcaps and they turned up on Christmas day! A male and a female.

So then I worried about my Reed Buntings and they turned up on New Years Eve..

 It's because it's been milder these winter and there is plenty of natural food about but they all do come back eventually I find.

Do you ever use the RSPB Community Forum site? It is very good for garden wildlife stuff if you don't and worth a visit, It's a friendly little group also...



03/01/2014 at 18:34

Thanks higgy, I'll have a look at that forum

03/01/2014 at 18:40

Yes well worth a look and if you can find it the 'Greenfingers' section is all about gardening for wildlife so some really interesting posts about plant types and the like..

Any problems navigating on there give me a should either here or there and I'll help if I can..

03/01/2014 at 18:42

This is my first forum, I've never been into them before. I need to look around for some good ones.

03/01/2014 at 18:50

I don't get the time that's my problem and I like that one as I can dip in and out of it as time permits and I always get a warm reception when I go back! This shows that many have followed it for years which to me shows that it is good.

I did go on a photography forum when I first started and it was so unfriendly and 'clicky' that I couldn't stand it.

A forum should allow good discussion and the sharing of ideas and experience as this one and the RSPB one does but the photography one was awful and could put people off of forums for ever if they haven't been on others..

Hope that helps? I'm sure there's more good ones out there but these are the two I've found the most user friendly myself.



03/01/2014 at 20:34

Nut - fabulous photograph when you blow it up - OH and I are spellbound just looking at it 

03/01/2014 at 20:43

Excuse my ignorance (we all have to start somewhere) but do the Peacocks change colour when they hibernate or are the underside of their wings always like that?  I have never seen them like that before, but we get them in the garden so maybe i will check our woodshed .... Or at least point them out to OH so he is aware

03/01/2014 at 20:49

The undersides are always like that chicky. Well camouflaged in the woodshed


03/01/2014 at 21:21

Thanks Dove, I'll tell the photographer (OH)

04/01/2014 at 01:33


When the Peacocks first hatch they are jet black underneath but do fade slightly with age. All butterflies and moths fade so you can have a good guess at how long they've been hatched and on the wing. Sometimes they get really tatty with ripped wings and virtually all the coloration and markings rubbed off.

Not a butterfly but this moth clearly demonstrates how tatty they get and I and others have been unable to identify it due to this...

To try and demonstrate the fading of markings, the two moths below are both the same species - Marbled Beauties but you can see how the markings are starting to fade on the second moth, which demonstrates the aging process a bit clearer hopefully...

 If you see a Peacock butterfly straight from hatching it's a sight to behold as they almost glow! This doesn't last long and they start to fade quite quickly.

Hope that all makes sense and is of interest?




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