Tag Archives: Insects


I’ve featured Bee-flies before, and here’s another excellent close-up, from St.Anns Allotments….

IMG_0207bee flylr

It’s hard to identify the different species in flight, but this is almost certainly Bombylius major, by far the most common species, and one of only two likely to be seen in April.  Bee-flies are interesting insects, which mimic bees, and lay their eggs in the nests of solitary bees; their larvae then parasitise the growing bee larvae, gradually sucking out its internal fluids.  As illustrated in the photo, adult Bee-flies feed on nectar with their long proboscis.

Thanks to Nic Cairns for the photo.





Spring Butterflies

The recent warm spring weather has brought the butterflies out…..


Peacock feeding on Dandelion



Both the Peacock (Aglais io) and the Comma (Polygonia c-album) are amongst the relatively few British butterfly species that hibernate, and these will have been overwintering individuals recently emerging in the warm weather.

Thanks to Nic Cairns for the photos, taken at the St.Anns Allotments.

Dragonfly sex

A week or so ago, in one of the last unseasonably warm spells we had, I saw two dragonflies mating at the St.Ann’s allotments….

These dragonflies are demonstrating the “wheel” formation characteristic of mating Odonata, and not seen in any other insects.  They maintained the formation for several minutes, long enough to find a camera and take a photograph.

I think the species is Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum), or perhaps Ruddy Darter (S. sanguineum), I’m not certain exactly which.  Both are fairly commonly seen dragonflies.

Emerald Damselfly

Another excellent close-up from Nic Cairns – an Emerald Damselfly (Lestes sponsa), photographed at Attenborough Nature Reserve…..

IMG_7861green damselLR

Thanks to Nic for the photo.

Clouded Yellow

Thanks to Viv Crump for this fine photo of a Clouded Yellow butterfly, feeding on Buddleia on the threatened RBRGHA allotments……

Clouded Yellow butterfly

The Clouded Yellow (Colias croceus) is predominantly a migratory species, mostly from Southern Europe and Northern Africa, and is known for occasional spectacular mass migrations in some years.  Thanks to Viv for the photo of this intriguing insect.

Southern Hawker Dragonfly

I’ve featured Dragonflies before, here and here.  Here’s another picture, but of a different species….


This is a female Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea), seen by Nic Cairns at Ecoworks Community Garden.  Thanks to Nic for the great photo.

Small Magpie Moth

Another nice moth photo from Vivien Crump….a Small Magpie Moth (Anania hortulata), seen through horticultural netting on the threatened RBRGHA allotments :


Thanks to Vivien for the photo.

Mint Moths

Vivien Crump sent in some pictures of some day-flying moths, taken on the threatened RBRGHA allotments in Wollaton…..

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These little moths, photographed here on Thyme and Mint plants, are the Mint Moth (Pyrausta aurata), which are quite commonly found on allotments and gardens.  Thanks to Vivien for the images.


Orange Tip Butterfly

Thanks to Vivien Crump, who sent in this fine photo of an Orange Tip butterfly (Anthocharis cardamines), resting on a Groundsel plant….

orange tip on groundsel 19 Apr  2015

The butterfly was photographed on the Radford Bridge Road Allotments in Wollaton.

In my last blog post I mentioned that the plot holders were recently given a notice to quit.  Here is a description of the current state of affairs from gardener Sue :

“The tenant gardeners of the Radford Bridge Road Garden Holders’ Association site off Russell Drive, Wollaton, have been issued with a legal Notice to Quit the site by April 2nd 2016.  We have no information on whether or not the developers have a timescale for the start of clearance work, but we do know that they have not yet submitted their Reserved Matters application to the Nottingham City Council in order to achieve Full Planning Consent.  It is good for the gardeners to know they at least have this year to continue to work their plots, but the developer’s commitment in their Outline Planning documentation to help us relocate seamlessly from current to new plot appears to be rather tenuous when we are faced with eviction and with the requirement to remove all our gardening equipment off site in the chance that we might be able to relocate, who knows when.   The practicalities of the latter exercise are horrendous; how on earth do you store shed, greenhouse, water butts, fruit cages, raised beds……  I personally took on an allotment because I only have a small back garden, so I will have to abandon my ‘paraphernalia’  and risk having to compensate the developers for not clearing my plot.  Not good, is it.”

As she says, it doesn’t sound good – either for gardeners or for the wildlife found on this threatened site.

Hairy Shield-bug

I like Shield-bugs, and have featured them before.  Here’s another – the Hairy Shield Bug (Dolycoris baccarum), also known as the Sloe Shield-Bug, photographed on the Community Orchard at St.Ann’s Allotments:


Despite the name, it is not particularly associated with Sloe trees.  Quite a handsome little beastie!