Holy Trinity CofE

Wildlife Garden Updates 2022 - photos and text by our eco TA, Mr Moore

Plant-plugs were placed on our wild flower bank Summer 2020 and this year over 20 flowering plant species have so far been identified

Photos below best viewed on a desktop PC

In this picture Ants can be seen "milking" Blackfly. This is in fact a sugary liquid called honeydew that the blackfly produce. The Ants adore it and therefore farm the Blackfly by herding them together and protecting them from predators such as Ladybirds. If you look carefully, centre, you will be able to spot a Red Admiral butterfly.
Males set up territories which they defend and can often be seen flying up to investigate anything that flies nearby, bees, other butterflies and even birds. Females lay their eggs on Stinging Nettles in batches of over 300. There are Stinging Nettles available to Red Admirals in our wildlife garden.
Meet Timothy, not a new year 3 pupil but a very ancient type of grass.
Thought to have been an early coloniser after the last ice age, Timothy is in fact in year 12,000.
Today it is used for hay and grazing and is a food plant for the caterpillars of Skipper and Marbled White butterflies. We have plenty in our wildlife garden.

We have a decidedly sinister leafless plant growing in the garden. It has no chlorophyll, therefore it is not green and cannot photosynthesise.
Broomrape is a parasite and it taps nutrients from the roots of other plants by means of an underground bulb-like organ. In this case Common Vetch is the innocent victim and has to work twice as hard catering for two.

Butterfly bed & breakfast. 8am

This Butterfly would have settled here yesterday evening to catch the last warmth from the setting sun before settling down for the night.
It's a Large White or cabbage white to gardeners, who are most unkeen on its hungry caterpillars which can strip brassicas to a skeleton.
They fly between April and September and can be found in almost any habitats including our wildlife garden.

Moth, was my immediate thought on seeing this caterpillar. But with over 2500 species in the UK, identification can be difficult. 

This fine specimen approx 6 mm long is infact a Sawfly Caterpillar. There are around 500 species in the UK. They are a very primitive insect that would have flown with the dinosaurs. We have Sawfly patrolling the wildlife area but luckily no dinosaur!