How are we three weeks in already? Where did June go? It seems to have shot past in a blur of birds and mini-beasts, leaving a trail of variably blurred photos in its wake. Week three was no exception, with insects again featuring highly in my wildlife hunting exploits, including my favourite species of the month so far – the caterpillar-shaped jewel in my crown! So, without further ado…
Following straight on from Day 14, I found myself once again watching the Banded Demoiselles along the river. I keep vowing to leave them be and find something new, but they just draw me back every time. On this occasion I had a front row seat to the whole reproductive cycle, from a male defending territory to a female laying eggs – amazing! But just for variety, I also found a new species for me: Deraeocoris flavilinea, a bug they haven’t bothered to assign a common name. This little creature first arrived in the UK in 1996 and quickly spread, becoming common across much of south and central England.
A last-minute mission for a Father’s Day present consumed far more of my lunch break than it should have, since Thorntons had inexplicably decided to relocate to the inside of a post office on the opposite side of town. This left little time to hunt for bugs so I just took a seat on the riverbank, my legs dangling above the water, and watched the wild world go by.
The weekend once again found me at RSPB Old Moor, as it so often does. But less usually, birds were the last thing on my mind. Despite seeing plenty of avian wonders, including half a dozen bittern views, the highlights were the insects; dragonflies, damselflies and butterflies were evident and spectacular, but the star of the show was a Puss Moth caterpillar! There were several tiny specimens, fresh out of the egg, but I finally found a bigger beast. Just look at how ridiculous it is – my new favourite caterpillar!
A mixed day. The sun was shining fiercely, so I spent the day in my parents’ garden as we were having a BBQ to celebrate Father’s Day. I started reading my book on a sun lounger and became so engrossed I was still there an hour and a half later – by the time evening came around I was lobster red and rather unhappy! But I did keep things wild by spotting a Brimstone Moth and a Mint Moth.
A lovely evening called for a lovely evening stroll along the canal. I didn’t spot much, other than a curious Mute Swan and a (so far) unidentified bug, but it was just nice to be out in the wild after a day in the office.
One of my less wild days, with the only bug hunting occurring on my way to work when I spotted a bizarre little creature with some really hefty antennae – haven’t got round to identifying it yet! We also had an office picnic in the park for lunch.
The longest day of the year also proved to be one of the hottest, with the office becoming a sauna. I made the mistake of walking along the river at lunch. I returned rather sweaty, but with a decent list of species under my belt – 20 birds, 4 damselflies, 3 butterflies and 2 dragonflies. The dragonflies, an Emperor and a Brown Hawker, were the first I’ve seen on this river. The butterfly below is a Ringlet.
So there went week three! Not the wildest by my standards, but I still managed to get out and enjoy nature at least once a day. Fortunately I’ve got a few special things planned for the final days of 30 Days Wild, so watch this space!