caterpillars

Last week one of our visitors sent in the photo above, concerned about the rapid defoliation by these hungry caterpillars! They are not invasive species that has been making headlines, but caterpillars of the Buff-tip (Phalera bucephala), a native species known for their gregarious habit as caterpillars.

We caught up with the caterpillars later in the week and they certainly had grown and spread out! Yet they continue to eat oak leaves at an impressive rate. They will soon be preparing to pupate, tucked up underground, to emerge next year as adults in June or July.

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Thanks again for spotting this! Have you noticed any interesting or unusual wildlife at Mudchute? Be sure to send any queries our way! We’re only a tweet, Facebook message or email away!


Daffodils in the sunshine.

Daffodils in the sunshine.

Following a very wet, but mild winter, we’re starting to see signs of Spring around the farm. The February half term holidays saw some lovely weather, with Saturday being especially bright and sunny. The rising temperatures and lengthening days have brought many trees and bulbs into flower across the farm, creating a fantastic display of blooms in all shapes, colours and sizes.

Blossom and bird boxes. Many birds can be spotted gathering nesting material, while others are already raising young.

Blossom and bird boxes. Many birds can be spotted gathering nesting material, while others are already raising young.

We’ve spotted wood pigeons and squirrels eating cherry blossoms as well as pollinators taking advantage of the nectar-rich spring flowers. Bumblebees and hoverflies have been visiting the crocuses and butterflies should be taking advantage of some of these nectar sources soon too. You may also notice nesting birds at this time of year. Magpies can be seen conspicuously carrying nesting material and other species may already be taking advantage of the warm temperatures to get an early start on raising their young. Keep an eye out for adult birds carrying food in their beaks, a clue that there may be little mouths to feed in the nest!


Bright orange rowan berries.

Bright orange rowan berries.

As we move into October, we’ll be expecting more autumnal weather. While temperatures have remained warm, you can certainly feel the days getting shorter and nights beginning to draw in. Fruit and fungi should be the stars this October. Fruits are already abundant across the farm and we’ve already spotted shaggy inkcap mushrooms emerging. Continue reading