Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Swallowtail Caterpillar

Back in June I visited the RSPB's Strumpshaw Fen reserve to look at, amongst other things, the Swallowtail butterfly (click here to see how I got on). At the time, it said that the caterpillar of this species could be seen feeding on the Milk Parsley plants in July and August, so as we were in the area, we decided to have a look.

We did manage to spot one caterpillar, but it was quite distant, and I only managed a very mediocre shot. Here's the original and a heavily cropped version.

Swallowtail caterpillar

Whilst searching for the caterpillars, we also saw several species of dragon and damselfly, namely Migrant and Brown Hawker, Blue-tailed Damselfly, Common and  Ruddy Darter. The hawkers wouldn't sit still, so I couldn't get a photograph, but the Darters played ball, and I got a couple of decent photos.

First up the Common Darter. Here's a photo of an immature male that was soaking up the sun on the boardwalk. See the British Dragonfly Society's website here for more details about this species.

Common Darter

Ruddy Darters were also present in good numbers, and I managed to get this shot of a male. Note how red the body and eyes are compared to the Common Darter, and the obvious narrow waist. More details here.

Ruddy Darter

Walking back to the centre, we spotted a Speckled Bush-cricket - a new species for me. I think this is a youngster. More details here

Speckled Bush-cricket

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