Garden Robin

Garden Robin

Monday, 7 September 2015

Moths, Butterflies, Spider and Flowers

I put out the moth trap last Friday and with a minimum overnight temperature of 4.9 degrees centigrade it wasn't surprising that there were very few moth species in the trap. Nothing seems to stop Large Yellow Underwing though as there were 21 individuals plus 4 Lesser Yellow Underwing, 6 worn Flounced Rustic and 1 Square-spot Rustic.

This beautiful Angle Shades (Phlogophora meticulosa) wasn't trapped but found on the landing the weekend before last. I should have taken a photo in a more natural environment as the wings resemble withered autumn leaves.

Echinops has produced more flowers than I expected this year following an attack of black fly!

Cosmos is flowering in nearly every border of the garden - a great flower for attracting insects especially bees.

We went out to our favourite blackberrying spot yesterday but only managed to gather enough to fill a small ice cream tub - most had already "gone over". In fact, when we got home we picked as many from the garden!

The wildflower area has been cut down - we left the seedheads lying round for a few days. As you may be able to see from the photo the dreaded Couch Grass is dominant. A huge packet of Yellow Rattle seeds has arrived in the post so, once the area is dug over, they'll be planted and it will be interesting to see the results!

Non-flowering Nasturtiums :(

Hanging baskets have done well this year although they are just starting to become "leggy". The colour combination is due to B collecting seeds from last year's plants and growing his own!

I've often bought pots of Chrysanthemums from Supermarkets in the past and they continue to do well if planted out in the garden.

Speckled Woods (Parage aegeria) in the garden

I saw my first Garden Small Tortoiseshell last week. Its been a poor year in the garden for this species, Comma's, Peacocks and Red Admirals although Holly Blues and Gatekeepers have done really well.

The flower and butterfly photos were taken with the Cannon Bridge Camera. It does have a tendency to over-expose flower photos when its sunny. I think Millymollymandy mentioned this? Will have to try lowering the ISO, and perhaps mess around with exposure compensation and possibly experiment with White Balance. White Balance is the one thing I tend to leave on Auto as changing it has often given some very peculiar results at least with the Olympus!

Finally, a couple of photos of a Garden Spider (Araneus diadematus) spotted in the front garden yesterday.

I know a couple of you were interested in the id of the "bottle-brush" plant. Just to let you know I've received an email suggesting an id - its Bridewort or Willowleaf Meadowsweet (Spiraea salicifolia). Many thanks to Tony.


  1. I learned from Monty that Nasturtiums dont flower if the soil is too good. They like sub soil and stones!

    1. Thanks so much Stewart - that sounds likely. They haven't flowered last 2 years and were planted in pots with enriched non-peat compost. When I used to sow them in the wall with poor ancient soil they did flower! I will know what to do next year! :)

  2. Lovely pics, especially the spider and the lovely cosmos, whilst the Angle Shades was a nice specimen. Nasturtiums flourish in our garden, indeed they tend to take over at this time of year, but perhaps, as Stewart says, the thin, dry and chalky soil here at Wold Garth suits them.

    Many modern cameras seem to over-expose a bit, whilst I have found Canon cameras to be somewhat more inconsistent as regards their metering, but usually a little bit of exposure compensation sorts it out (-0.3 or -0.7 for example).

    Kindest regards :-)

    1. Thanks very much David. I seem to have had the most problems with nasturtiums when I have grown them in pots. There again the seed is some years old so perhaps that is causing the problem.

      Thanks for the help re: the camera - I will try the exposure compensation and see if that helps in bright sunlight.

  3. Oh - can I beg to differ? :-) My nasturtiums flower really well and they self seed in my veg patch which has loads of compost or horse muck dug in, and on the other side of the fence where they grow are our compost bins, so they are taking in all the nutrients leaching out of the bins! So I don't know the answer to them not flowering, unless they have too much nitrogen and not enough potash type of fertiliser?

    Anyway, congrats on the Angle Shades coming inside your house! That must have been a pleasant surprise. I'm still trying to ID some moths from the last two trappings, trouble is I can't remember the markings so I'm probably staring at some that I've already ID'd and don't have a clue what they are.... :-)

    With the SX50 I would try the exposure compensation meter thingy and see how it goes. I take my photos on manual setting now. I found the auto or semi auto settings were worst when I took photos of things on my pond for giving me overbright, glary images. I guess you will get the same with flowers in the sun, but they are not easy to photograph in full sun anyway. The photos all look good to me here! Love your hanging baskets. And it's that time of year for those Garden Spiders, isn't it? They are getting big now so much easier to spot. I've only seen one Small Tortoiseshell this year too.

    1. Thanks so much for the comment Mandy. Its getting interesting re: the nasturtiums. They didn't flower well last year either - as mentioned to David I am wondering if its because the seed is old. Next year I will put some in the garden wall which just has garden soil in and plant some in the borders and see if that makes a difference!!

      I promise the moth id will get easier as time passes. I had the same problem as you with not remembering markings initially. I have a few worn noctuids from last night's trapping session to identify - I tend to take photos as I can see the markings better - really do need some stronger reading glasses!!

      Thanks so much for the tips re: the camera - as mentioned above to David I will experiment with exposure compensation (once I find out where the setting is on the camera!!). I've been using aperture priority in the main which is the setting I use most on the dslr but its not easy to decide which f stop to use as with the dslr apertures go up to f22 but with the Canon bridge only up to f8!

      Spotting many Garden Spiders now and its feeling very autumnal! Will be interesting to see eventually if Small Tortoiseshell numbers have been low everywhere.

  4. Lovely post - as usual. My Nasturtiums are doing OK now, but they have been very slow compared to other years. I haven't seen Small Torties for a while. Your Angle Shades moth is magnificent.

    1. Thanks very much Caroline. Perhaps there is still time for flowers to appear on the nasturtiums - they did have a nasty attack by black fly earlier so perhaps that hasn't helped? Have rather a soft spot for Angle Shades though see very few!