Friday, 28 September 2012


Whilst sorting through our firewood yesterday I came across this curious looking creature.

Forest Shield Bug

I rescued it from the impending fire and watched it happily scuttling off into the undergrowth. A bit of investigation shows that this is a Forest Shield Bug, which has a liking for trees and apparently can be considered as a garden pest. I'm not sure I like the term 'garden pest', I'm quite happy with it being here.

We also had this lovely Angle Shades moth in the porch last night.

Angle Shades

Sunday, 16 September 2012

White Ermine in the making

We found this curious looking creature on a wander up Batch Valley today.

White Ermine larva

Given the dark colour and red line line, you would possibly not expect that this would become a beautiful white moth. This is the larva of a White Ermine, a beautiful white moth with small black spots. The moth will not be flying until May of next year, and this larva will overwinter as a pupa in a cocoon amongst plant debris.

White Ermine larva

Also of interest this weekend, though escaping the camera lens, was a Kingfisher. Jo was lucky to see one on the way back to the house on Sunday morning, perched on a concrete slab before disappearing down the stream.

Saturday, 15 September 2012


Some beautiful flies on the brambles in the garden today. One of which I am yet to identify, this black insect with yellow 'armpits'. I am sure that it is some type of Tachinid fly, but not sure which one.

Tachinid Fly

Tachinid Fly

There was also this Green Bottle Fly.

Green Bottle Fly

Friday, 14 September 2012


A very windy night in Batch Valley. I put out the moth trap in the usual spot and promptly had to move it to the back of the house. It then rained and so I was delighted to catch any moths. I still managed a new one, a rather worn Brindled Green.

Brindled Green

Otherwise quite a variable catch. Nice to see a couple of Autumnal Rustics, as well as Brimstone Moths and some Common Marbled Carpets.

Common Marbled Carpet

Brimstone Moth

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Hedging my bets

The moth trap went out last night before I went to the pub for a couple of ales, and when I came back I knew it was not going to be a great catch. It was clear and cold, and I could only see one moth in the trap. This morning I was therefore not surprised to only find 27 moths. Though I was pleasantly surprised to see that there were three new species for me.

The first of these was a Green Carpet, on the eggboxes I put around the outside of the trap. This is actually a rather common species and one I thought I would have seen by now.

Green Carpet

Whilst looking through the Flounced Rustics (again the most abundant species), I found two dark nocuitds. I first thought these were a dark from of the former, but a closer look meant they surely had to be something different. Curiously, whilst they both looked the same in terms of markings, they was a difference in size and structure between the two. I eventually settled on these being Hedge Rustics, and a look at images on the internet confirmed this.

Hedge Rustics

The other new moth was a Brown-spot Pinion. Apparently a very common moth which is beginning to come into it's flight season, so I am expecting a few more of these. Otherwise it was the usual suspects, though there was a nice Antler Moth in the trap as well.

Brown-spot Pinion

Antler Moth

Saturday, 8 September 2012

A view of Batch Valley

We took a long planned walk to the top of Caer Caradoc today. This imposing hill is opposite All Stretton, and since we moved to Batch Valley we have been looking forward to making it to the top of the hill we see from our garden. We were not disappointed, with a glorious view of Batch Valley and the Long Mynd.

The view from the top of Caer Caradoc. Batch Valley is in the centre of the picture.

We were not the only ones out and about on Caer Caradoc today. Close to the very top we found this Fox Moth larva going about it's business. A species found across the Shropshire Hills, this is another insect to be looking out for around Batch Valley.

Fox Moth larva

The Moth Trap will be going out tonight. Not expecting a huge catch, but hoping for a few new species.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Hat decoration

This Black Darter was using a floppy hat as a resting place at Whixall Moss today.

Black Darter

Sunday, 2 September 2012


We ventured out of Batch Valley and onto the Long Mynd today, walking up Townbrook Hollow and back down Ashes Hollow. One of our favourite walks and plenty of butterflies were in evidence once the sun started to shine, including a Grayling which just eluded the camera. On the walk back across to Church Stretton we came across this nectaring on thistles.


This is the first Wall butterfly I have seen for decades. They have declined substantially in central England and I never saw one when I lived in Oxfordshire. So I was very pleased to see this beautiful insect. We also came across this interesting fungi which I need to look up.


After I walk we popped up to Hanwood, and found this pretty Silver Y moth hanging on a Hydranga.

Silver Y

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Autumnal change

The autumnal feel in the weather has been matched by the appearance of a new moth for the garden. This time a beautiful Autumnal Rustic. This is a moth I had been hoping to record, and I was not disappointed when I saw the insect this morning.

Autumnal Rustic

I also recorded another new macro species this morning, one of the Treble-bars. Though it look like a distinctive moth, there are two very similar species - the Treble-bar and it's congener the Lesser Treble-bar. So I had an (undignified) look at the claspers at the tip of the abdomen, and by their long and pointed shape I was able to identify it as a Treble-bar.

With distinctive pointed claspers

The other new moth for the garden was a beautiful mico moth called Cydia splendana.

Cydia splendana

Other highlights in the trap were another Canary-shouldered Thorn, a Feathered Gothic and a Small Wainscot. Flounced Rustics made up a third of all moths caught with 17 individuals. There were also a few yet to identify, which I will get onto in the next couple of days.