Saturday, 2 August 2014
This shot captures a Marbled White butterfly, feeding on red clover at Langdon Hills Country Park, in Thurrock (Essex). The site has a number of meadows, supporting a myriad of insects and other wildlife - including 33 species of butterfly. Many of these are on the wing now that the British summer is most definitely here. Below we have some more information about the Marbled White butterfly, from Naturalist Natasha Lodge.
- Tom Heenan, Photographer
The Marbled White (Melanargia galathea) is actually more closely related to the 'Brown' butterflies than the 'White' butterflies due to its life cycle and habits. It has distinct black and white markings that make it easy to recognise. Small, red, parasitic mites are often seen on the bodies of Marbled Whites, but these do not pose a threat to the butterfly in small numbers and do not detract from their attractive colouring. It is a common species and is found throughout most of South and central England and in parts of South Wales. It is currently absent from Scotland, however the species is expanding northwards.
- Natasha Lodge, Naturalist
Saturday, 7 June 2014
|"Fading Comma", resting amongst the Speedwell flowers, May 2013.|
The sun is finally shining on us here in the UK, or so it seems. The butterflies are making the most of the bright weather, with many of these bold and beautiful creatures flying around the woodlands and meadows of the countryside, or visiting gardens. Here is a shot from last Summer, of an old Comma butterfly, starting to look ragged but still beautifully coloured, resting on the grass amongst the Speedwell flowers. This shot was taken on the walk between Admiral's Park in Chelmsford and the village of Writtle.
Germander Speedwell (Veronica chamaedrys) is an interesting flower. Some attribute the name "Speedwell" to its use as a traditional remedy, where it was supposed to cure a person quickly (see article here). It may not be enough to restore the Comma butterfly in the face of climate change however.
The Comma butterfly, and other darker insects like it, may soon be fading away as a result of climate change. A study published last month found that global warming is favouring lighter coloured insects over darker ones; Zeuss et al. looked at a wide range of butterfly and dragonfly species across Europe and found that their colouring affects their ability to cope with temperature. The current distribution of these insects is linked to their colouring, and as temperature increases their distribution will too. Darker insects, like the Comma, retreat northwards and lighter insects appear in their place. “Until now we could only watch the massive changes in the insect fauna during the last 20 years. Now we have an idea of what could be a strong cause of the changes," said Dirk Zeuss, lead author of the study. This will help to predict future changes to insect populations in Europe.
Saturday, 3 May 2014
|"Cotswold Beech Burst", Maugersbury, Gloucestershire.|
Saturday, 19 April 2014
The Queen Elizabeth Hunting Lodge has to feature in any mention of the history of Epping Forest. From Elizabeth I to William Morris (whose first recorded interest in textiles was during a visit to the hunting lodge - read more about him here), this building has touched upon the lives of many important figures. The lodge was actually built for Henry VIII, back in 1543. The two photos above show the hunting lodge during a medieval re-enactment event, a chance to see history come to life at the hunting lodge. The hunting lodge and the newly-built visitor centre next door are excellent places to learn more about the forest (and "The View" visitor centre does indeed have fantastic views out over Chingford Plain), and there are a number of marked trails leading out from here to help you explore the woodland. Find out more about the lodge and upcoming events at the City of London website.
|"The Chapel" in Chigwell Row|
|Some of the fascinating features that can be found on buildings in the area|
Tuesday, 1 April 2014
|The Chignal Jester stands proudly on its head.|