A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Friday, 9 October 2015

Hooptedoodle #194 - More Critters

pararge aegeria, large as life
This week I have mostly been in Edinburgh, performing my civic duty as a jury member, which means I missed some new visitors here at Chateau Foy. Yesterday was - out of nowhere - calm and dry and sunny, and the garden was full of little brown butterflies.

We do well for butterflies here - there is a wood at the bottom of the garden; we don't get anything too exotic, but the variety is good - especially on a sunny day when the buddleia is in bloom (it's finished for the year now) we get Red Admirals, Peacocks, Painted Ladies, Commas and all sorts of white ones with light blue or orange piping. But we've never seen these before.

This little chap got into the Garden Room, so was a good subject for a photo or two. He's not very spectacular, but it seems he's a Speckled Wood (pararge aegeria), and the name comes from the fact that he is speckled and lives in woodland (any questions, at the back?). What is significant is that these are native to the South of England, and - though they are known to be establishing themselves further north - these are the first ones we've seen in Scotland.

There were dozens of them yesterday - it's not such a great day today, so we have only midges to look at this morning. There was a little excitement earlier, with some kind of a fight going on among the rooks on the far side of the horse field, but it was noisy rather than vicious, and things calmed down quickly.

Always pleased to make some new friends - if the Speckled Wood is a shadowy harbinger of global warming then he's welcome anyway.


Very late edit:

I've seen it before, but someone sent me a link to this rather fine film of a sleeping dormouse. This dates from about 4 years ago, and if memory serves me correctly I think was originally uploaded by the Surrey Wildlife Trust - while we're on a nature break(?), this is worth a look...

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