Peacock butterfly caterpillars on nettles

Nature Notes, July 2021

Volunteer and trustee Jim has been recording Nature notes of flora and fauna seen at and around the Ninewells Garden here’s the notes from July 2021

Wildlife Area Sightings

Below is a photo of my first 2020 sighting this morning (13th July) of Common Red Soldier Beetles (Rhagonycha fulva).  The host flower is Common Hogweed, Heracleum sphondilium.

Peacock butterfly caterpillars spotted in mid July at the NCG new wildlife area.  The host plant is the common or stinging nettle (Urtica dioica).  The common nettle is such an important food source for various types of butterfly. It is hard to believe that these little critters are transformed into the beautiful Peacock butterfly shown below, on conclusion of their metamorphosis process. 

This clearly demonstrates the huge importance of not cutting down or worse still spraying with damaging chemicals, the food plants on which our local fauna depend for their survival.

Wildflower Walk

Last Thursday afternoon (July 29th) , a group of intrepid wildflower hunters departed Ninewells Community Garden for a short walk, intent on reaching the ‘Wild Orchid Field’ located in the northwest corner of the Medi-Park.  From survey results over the past 2 years, the field boasts some 2,100 Orchids (see photo below).  

Along the way, we visited the newly formed natural meadow space behind the Carseview Centre.  This provided an early opportunity to view some wildflower species, which will grow in diversity as the meadow develops over the coming years.
Reaching our destination, our focus was to be the Orchids, but only sparse examples remain at this point in the season … something to look forward to witnessing next year.  However there were many other wildflower species to investigate, including Meadowsweet, Lady’s Bedstraw, Bird’s Foot Trefoil, Common Knapweed, and Fox and Cubs.  Our mission was not only to focus on identifying the different wildflower species present.  

We also allowed ourselves to marvel at the wonders of nature by witnessing the beauty of each wildflower species we encountered, and learn about its historical uses, and value to wildlife.  This was achieved by listening to prose and poetry read by those in the group.  This really added to the restorative power of being present in Nature.
Our stroll through the field also provided the opportunity to spot 4 different butterfly species, Meadow Brown, Small Copper, Small White and Green Veined White.  Great fun was had by some, chasing after these flighty, flying creatures, trying to evade netted capture to allow closer inspection.  This appears to be a great area for inclusion in future, regular bee and butterfly walks, that will support recording of sightings, and provide valuable data for various nature conservation organisations.
Everyone present enjoyed this ‘Walking in Nature’ event, and expressed much interest to attend future events.

Facilitator June created a short video from the event, which can be seen here on our YouTube channel

Text and photos by Jim Doig (unless otherwise credited)

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