14th August


High heath plus an arranged photographic session with larvae of the Red Admiral.


Dull but warm. Bright later. 5 Peacocks and 1 Large White.

While I was looking for insects on the Angelica, I spotted this bunch of ants under one of the florets. I wondered what they were doing. There were one or two aphids on the stem, but the ants weren't running up and down the stem as you'd expect. Then I noticed the large abdomen of the left-most ant. It's a Queen. The ants have been flying, lately, and this must be the first clustering of ants for a new colony.

Back in 22nd May, I showed the Apple Blossom on a small tree miles from anywhere. Now it has little red apples about 3 cm across. Early taste tests are not encouraging.

I've seen this little (8mm.) Ichneumon a few times. It has a very red abdomen, thick thighs and a white section in the antennae. I also note that this is the female, with a very short ovipositor. The much larger yellow Amblyteles in the background is very common - I see it on virtually every flower head.

I also saw another female Rhyssa persuasoria today. She was easily 10 cm. long.

The Peacock butterflies appeared today. I saw them in two locations about 4 km. apart. They are wonderful, large, fast fliers.

*** Note....the following pictures were taken using captive specimens. The Red Admiral adult is frequently recorded in this location, but the larvae are being shown for illustrative purposes only. ***

The caterpillar of the Red Admiral butterfly varies in colour. The young specimen on the left is about 15mm long. The fully-developed specimen on the right is is 35 mm long.


The young caterpillar above was introduced to a nettle plant. Within an hour it had made this distinctive (and typical) shelter. The larva bites the leaf in precise locations and then pulls the leaf together with a web. The leaf bends in a predictable shape to produce a shelter for its future development. Wonderful.

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