Monday, February 28, 2011


Delighted to report no losses in wild hibernating larvae during the second half of Feb, and only one all month - in stark contrast to Feb 10, when many were (apparently) predated. And no sign of desiccation, at least not yet.

When wet, they tend to turn a completely different colour. Below is Lot's Wife, who is mottled grey when dry, but turns distinctly green in rain. She's turned round on her silk pad (presumably in mild weather on Thurs 24th Feb) and is now upside down. Movement during the winter seems to be rare.

Below is Daniel. He's living in one of the most tit-infested parts of the woods, but is still alive. I arrived to check him just in time to eviscerate a flock of a dozen great tits, and on another occasion I chased off a large flock of long-tailed tits (or bumbarrels, as John Clare called them).

Conversely, here's the silk pad of a vanished larvae, presumably predated...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Latest News

Gentlemen, Brother Aurinia is on the march, big time. Marsh Fritillary larval webs are prolific at sites visited in Glos, E Dorset & S Wilts. This could be a Marsh Fritillary Big Bang year, and you heard it first on the Purple Empire.

Meanwhile, hibernating iris larvae are steadily being plundered by British tits. There's only one thing to do - awake the Kracken, my cat:-

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Latest Doings

This is Shadrach, photographed last Sunday. You've seen him before. Unfortunately, his tree companions Meshach, Abednego and Nebuchadnezzar (See Daniel 1-3) were predated during the second half of January - so three out of four were lost within a 2 sq m area on the one (good) tree, presumably during a feeding bout by a flock of tits. I'm not sure how long Shadrach will last.

I'm more confident about Lot's Wife, below, for the very good reason that she's chosen to reside near the tip of a thin twiglet on which a bird cannot perch.
Yes, this winter's wild crew are named after minor characters of the Old Testament. I've avoided naming any after major characters - Moses, Abraham, David etc. - to avoid offending those of us of the First Covenant ... .

Finally Brethren, there is now also a dead sheep in West Woods, Marlborough. Can somebody please explain...