Garden News

Summer butterflies and wildlife

Juliets Jottings roundallWildlife enthusiast and resident volunteer at Exbury, Juliet, describes how the recent dry weather is affecting summer wildlife:

Butterflies

"Daffodil Meadow is usually full of butterflies during summertime but this year there are far fewer than normal. One reasons for this is that the drought had effectively caused most of their nectar plants to dry up. There are some rather tired looking knapweed flowering, a complete absence of scabious, with some clumps of purple betony making the biggest splash. In a normal summer these plants attract good numbers of nectaring insects, but many of the butterflies this summer started to fly earlier than usual, and there is not much to keep them going".

"On a walk along the path across the Meadow the most numerous butterfly, which is also the latest to emerge, was the Gatekeeper. A number of meadow browns are still around, with small numbers of Marbled Brown, Common Blue and Small Skipper".

Other wildlife

"Grasshoppers and crickets seem to be enjoying the dry conditions more than most other insects".

"An interesting find was a partially dug out wasp nest which looked as if a badger had found it. Badgers are excellent excavators and would not have had too much difficulty getting through the iron-hard ground in search of wasp grubs. Pieces of the nest were scattered around, and a few wasps were buzzing around the remnants of their nest".

Meadow Gatekeeper skipper wasp nest Wasp nest 2

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‘A truly fantastic day out. My wife and I were bowled over by the amazing spring colours of rhododendrons and azaleas and there was literally colour everywhere. There are beautiful areas to walk through as well as places to sit. We took a picnic in the hope of being able to sit by one of the ponds and were not disappointed – the reflections were as spectacular as the real thing! The next thing we want to do is return in the autumn to see the colours change as it must be beautiful’

David Parker, Christchurch

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