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Langham in Rutland
If   it   has   been   too   hot   for   many   creatures   to   be   in   the   open   at   least   it   has   been   a   good year    for    butterflies    and    dragonflies.    I    don't    recall    seeing    so    many    meadow    browns. There are   three   other   brown   butterflies   similar   to   the   meadow   brown,   the   gatekeeper, the   ringlet   and   the   speckled   Wood.   All   have   been   seen   this   year.   Another   brown   butterfly is   the   female   of   the   common   blue.   I   have   seen   only   one   this   year   as   they   seem   to   be more   secretive   than   the   bright   blue   male .   The   holly   blues   are   more   difficult   to   tell   apart as   both   male   and   female   are   blue   although   the   female   has   darker   edges   to   the   wings. The   common   blue   has   orange   and   black   spots   on   the   underside   of   the   wings    and   the holly   blues   underside   is   silvery   white   with   only   a   few   small   black   spots.   The   common butterflies      that      have      been      seen      are      red      admiral,      peacock,      painted      lady , small tortoiseshell,   comma   ( comma   upperside    of   wings,   comma   underside    of   wings), small   copper   ( small   copper   upperside    of   wings,   small   copper   underside    of   wings),   large white,   small   white,   green   veined   white,   orange   tip,   brimstone   and   a   single   sighting   of   a small   skipper.   Not   all   moths   fly   at   night.   The   most   common   seen   in   daylight   is   the   ‘silver   Y’ which,   as   its   name   suggests,   has   a   silver   mark   in   the   shape   of   a   Y   on   its   wings.   I   have   seen one   cinnabar   moth   this   year.   These   are   very   distinctive   with   red   hind   wings   and   black forewings   with   two   red   spots   and   a   red   line.   I   don't   expect   to   see   many   of   these   as   the caterpillars   feed   on   ragwort   which   has   to   be   cleared   from   the   field   as   it   is   poisonous   to horses.   In   late   August   a   speckled   bush-cricket ,   an   insect   not   often   seen,   was   found   on   my chrysanthemums. If   the   daytime   is   too   hot   for   many   animals   to   be   out   and   about   then   the   nights   are   active times.   The   street   lamps   attract   insects   which   in   turn   attract   bats.   Several   have   been   seen around   the   light   outside   the   house.   This   is   when   you   need   a   bat   detector   which   can identify   the   bat   by   the   frequency   of   their   echo   location.   The   young   tawny   owls   were   heard in   the   trees   for   several   weeks.   Their   location   could   be   followed,   as   they   moved   from branch   to   branch,   by   their   cries   which   sound   like   a   wheel   in   need   of   a   drop   of   oil. They continue   calling   until   well   into   the   early   hours   of   the   morning.   Suddenly   one   night there   was   silence,   they   had   finally   flown   away.   I   read   somewhere   that   as   soon   as   they   can feed   themselves   the   parents   drive   them   away.   Another   visitor   has   been   a   Hedgehog which   has   made   several   appearances   in   the   drive,   much   to   the   annoyance   of   the   dog. I have to go and remove it to a place of safety. Finally   not   all   wildlife   is   welcome.   I   decided   to   give   the   inside   of   the   car   its   annual vacuuming.   I   got   the   cleaner   from   the   garage   but   could   not   get   any   suction.   On   taking   it to   bits   found   mice   have   entered   via   the   hole   where   the   hose   is   attached   and   nested   in the   bag.   Not   only   that   they   had   chewed   all   the   plastic   and   destroyed   the   inside   of   the machine. Mice are not popular at the moment.
A Pheasant’s Year - Bob Sheridan
Langham in Rutland