Sunday, 31 July 2011

woad betide the caterpillars

small white (Pieris rapae) caterpillar

small white caterpillar

woad (Isatis tinctoria)

I got to the bottom of what was eating the recently planted woad, when I spotted five caterpillars of the small white butterfly hugging the central ribs of its leaves. The woad needs to grow on before I am happy to sacrifice it for butterfly food, so the caterpillars were removed to a suitable plant nearby.

Note the yellow dorsal stripe, and the two small yellow dots on each segment of the caterpillar, which distinguishes it from the similar green-veined white (Pieris napi) caterpillar.

Caterpillar ID was achieved using Lewington, R., 2003 Pocket Guide to the Butterflies of Great Britain and Ireland British Wildlife Publishing, Dorset

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Noar Hill Dormice (Muscardinus avellanarius L.) survey

The highlight of the morning for our cohort of dormice surveyors, a single torpid female dormice weighing in at 18.5g found in the last nest box checked, sleeping under brown leaves over what may have been an old birds nest.

Earlier a birds nest was found containing 8-10 eggs, although it was unclear whether it remained a viable nest? A quick search of the internet back at home and the origin of the eggs remain uncertain Cf tree-creeper (Certhia familiaris); wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) or blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)?

The other cohort of surveyors totalled five dormice on site, including both a breeding and non-breeding pair.