Posted by: Ross Gardner | December 8, 2011

December Treats

A Red Admiral last Saturday was certainly somewhat unexpected.  It was Lola that saw it fluttering around a row of apples trees, lured perhaps by the rotting windfalls as they had been so often in the autumn.  I didn’t see this one, but the Red Admiral is the one butterfly that I have seen in every month of the year.  Nevertheless, to see a butterfly on the wing in the January sunshine, as I did last winter, still while the frost crisps the ground is a wonderfully incongruous sight.

Birch Shield Bug (Elasmostethus interstinctus). Copyright 2010 Ross Gardner

The other unseasonal surprise came in the shape of a Birch Shield Bug.  I had evidently and unwittingly collected the insect on my person whilst going about my work, which would make itself known to me by dropping into the wheelbarrow I was pushing.  Shield bugs in general over-winter as adults and are quite normally at large well into the autumn.  This however, was the first I have personally seen in December.  Another pointer perhaps, towards the strange autumn climate we have been experiencing in the south east of England this year.

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