I went on a bug hunt today. The Basingstoke Canal is ideal for everything I was looking for! The tow-path is lined with nettles, brambles, thistles and other wildflowers that are often labelled weeds. My featured photo is a beautiful Speckled Wood butterfly.
At this time of year so many of these “weeds” hold great importance to our wildlife, in particular to butterflies and moths who lay their eggs on these plants.
Today I got my first glimpses of emerging caterpillars on the nettles as well as seeing many tents made by the larvae at the top of leaves. I’m pretty sure these are Red Admiral caterpillars.
The thistles are still producing some flower heads, amongst lots of seed, providing nectar for hungry butterflies, bees and hoverflies.
I also found lots of harvestmen and several other intriguing spiders who were all feasting on the midges.
If you have nettles, brambles and thistles in your garden please don’t cut them back yet! You may find some hungry caterpillars soon 🙂