Depending on availability of Volunteers the next work day at Beckhithe Meadow will be on one of the last Saturdays this Month. In the mean time Matt Casey has been out identifying the Moths and Butterflies and here are a few he managed to snap. Watch the twitter feed or contact the site to get updates for future dates and events.
First off and arguably most beautiful and definitely furthest travelled from sub saharan Africa the Painted Lady. This year is a ‘painted lady year’ with record numbers only seen in about once a decade so the best time to look out for themThe underparts are stunning above but the wings when on show are a bit like a red admiral so look closely if you see one similar in the garden or out and about.
This rather tatty looking specimen is a purple hairstreak and is one that not many people have seen as it tends to stay highup in the tops of oak trees where it feeds on honeydew. Catch a glimpse of a fresher one and the purple patches on the wings will give it away
This attractive little butterfly is the Brown Argus and is bucking the general trend by not being at risk and declining in population. It is a member of the blue butterfly family and despite being clearly brown if you look closely there is a blue tinge around the body.
This common one is the Peacock and is one that will hibernate over winter in your garden shed given half a chance if not a natural crevices and tree holes, The caterpillars feed on nettles so no shortage of them at Beckhithe.The spots on the wings are to confuse predators and give them a chance of escape.
Lastly the nature detectives amongst you will realise that this is not a butterfly. This is the caterpillar and moreover its not from a caterpillar but a cinnibar moth. Anything this bright in nature is generally saying ‘eat me if you dare’ and the caterpillars eat ragwort which is the yellow plant pictured which contains natural toxins which are particularly harmful to horses. The adult moths are a stunning red and black and can be seen in the day as well as the usual moth times.