Sunday, 2 June 2013

Butter and lime

Thank goodness for another lovely sunny weekend: the weather really is spoiling us at the moment. 

Yesterday was the day for washing and mowing - this was my lawn beforehand looking for all the world like a buttercup meadow. 

Before clearing them away though, I couldn't resist doing the old buttercup under the chin trick with Chickpea, and yes, she does like butter.

Such pretty flowers.

I'm not sure you could describe this creature as pretty but I did find it fascinating. I spotted it in a shady corner of the garden in an old pot of compost. It was racing round and round the pot frantically until, eventually, it settled on the edge. You could actually see its furry body moving in and out as if it was panting for breath from all the activity.

When I checked a little later, its wings had unfurled further and were being held upright. It seemed completely unconcerned at me sticking my camera so close. I'm surprised I did get so close actually  - those legs look too spider-like (and therefore creepy) for my liking but I think curiosity got the better of me.

And a little later still, I looked out of the kitchen window, shouted to Chickpea 'It's opened its wings!' and dashed out with the camera. Sort of beautiful, definitely impressive, and so big - it must have been about 3 inches (18cm) across!

Having consulted our trusty old guide to moths (which I bought in a sale of withdrawn library books more than 20 years ago), it turns out that this is a lime hawk-moth. Apparently it only flies in May and June and only on warm evenings - so a fussy insect as well.

And why was it in our corner of the world? Well, one of the trees the larva lives and feeds on is silver birch which we just happen to have in our garden. The moth stayed there until the evening and when I checked just before 9pm it had gone. For such a little creature it caused us a lot of excitement and entertainment.

Today I had an irresistible urge to get out of the house so we went to visit another historic house and park. More on that next time when I've had a chance to sort out the photos. Enjoy the remainder of your weekend. x


  1. Your photos today are really stunning. Love the buttercups and the little have captured some beautiful images.
    Marianne x

  2. That moth is an amazing find, how great!

  3. I agree, your photos are superb! And I'm so glad to get a look at your lime hawkmoth. That is not a creature I have ever seen around here. I am amazed at the detail and care bestowed upon the design of insects:)

  4. What beautiful images, I admire your patience in waiting for the moth's wings to open. Sarah x

  5. What great photos- The moth pictures are amazing, Its a fascinating creature:)

  6. Amazing photos of that moth! Although it does creep me out a bit if I'm honest...

    We taught the kids the butter trick this weekend - so lovely to see the expressions on their faces. x

  7. Thanks for your comment just now, glad you enjoyed my photos. Those white flowers are lovely cotton grass and you'll be seeing more it in my blog - it seems to be a good year for it this year! I've slowly been learning bird songs, it takes a while and several attempts to learn, but it's nice that I'm starting to make a bit of progress. I find the best way it just listening and then finding the singing bird as that's what helps me remember but I also use the RSPB website as it has sounds and I've been enjoying the radio 4 Tweet of the Day series - have you heard it? They're doing loads of different birds and all available on the web to listen to - not many garden birds have featured yet but you could start with a few common ones like robins, blackbirds etc and then build on that!