Plantlife reveals disturbing figures: We have lost 97% of our meadows since the 1930’s, one in five of our wild flowers are in danger of disappearing, and every county loses a wild flower every couple of years. They work hard to reverse this ‘great thinning’ and have created 90 new meadows in 3 years, and protected and restored 3,000 hectares of grassland in just one of their projects. Without our wild flowers and meadows, insects decline rapidly (75% recorded loss in a recent survey) and so do birds. Every little bit helps, from growing nectar rich plants, introducing wild flowers to your garden, encouraging settlements of all sizes to plant wild flower meadows. Joining plantlife.love-wildflowers.org.uk is also worth
Wild Flower Meadow, Sheffield, Earl Marshall
Meadows support insects which support many birds
considering. Conditions: Showers and cool at last! Temperature: Max 16 Min 10 C.
It is not too late to do the Big Butterfly Count! For anyone who has a job identifying the most common brown butterflies, this may help. The Ringlet is distinctive for its velvety dark background and for having several circles, though the number and size can vary. Meadow Browns have one circle on their forewings, with one white spot, and in most habitats is the Brown most frequently seen, and Gatekeepers (declined 44% since the 1970’s, largely due to intensification of farming) have two white spots in their single dark circle. Conditions: Cool breeze and occasional shower ut the welcome spell of rain seems over too soon. Temperature: Max 22 Min 12 C.
Male Meadow Brown
Rose Sawfly Larvae- these 15mm munchers look superficially like caterpillars but they are one of 8,000 Sawfly species worldwide, named after the saw-shaped ovipositor of the females, with which they cut a slot in the host plant in which to deposit their eggs.sHarmless, except when in such numbers that they defoliate whole plants (which then recover), the larvae go through eight different developmental stages. Caterpillars never have more than five pairs of legs but Sawfly larvae have six or more. Sawfly larvae often feed on gregariously, like these, and when threatened take this classic ‘S’ shape. Conditions: Sun and cloud. Dry again. Temperature: Max 24 Min 13C.
Rose Sawfly larva
Rose Sawfly larvae
Rose Sawfly Larvae
Mating Rose Sawfly adults
These wild Honeysuckles, as well as those you grow in the garden, are brilliant for wild-life, including ten species of insects which feed exclusively on them. The wonderful scent, strongest in the evening for attracting their pollinator Moths, can be detected a quarter of a mile away by the Hummingbird Hawkmoth. The caterpillar of the increasingly rare White Admiral depends on the leaves. Dormice use the bark for nest material for their young, and get nutrients from eating the nectar rich flowers. Thrushes nest in them, and eat their bright red autumn berries, as do Warblers and Bullfinches. Clearly, if you haven’t already got some in your garden, it is worth considering. Conditions: Cloudy and humid. Temperature: Max 23 Min 13 C.