Common knapweed (Centaurea nigra) grows widely in the meadow.
It flowers from June till September,
is very popular with a wide range of insects and is usually abuzz with visitors.
There are, of course, the usual bees and flies that feed on its nectar. But the other day there were three visitors that I didn’t know. So, on getting home, I dug out my ‘Boys Big Bumper Book of Bugs.’ Turns out that they were all fairly common and widespread – at least in southern England. Doesn’t make them any less beautiful though. Or welcome.
First up was a large skipper butterfly. There certainly aren’t as many butterflies at the Priory this year – at least not yet. But there are some meadow browns and skippers. So that’s good, isn’t it?
I was very taken with my second unknown; the thick-legged flower beetle. Not the most gracious of names but a rather handsome chap. And it is a chap – females don’t have the fat legs. Thin-legged flower beetles?
And then I spotted a spotty moth.
“Must be terribly rare,” I thought, as I don’t remember ever seeing one before. But no. The six-spot burnet moth is the commonest of Britain’s day-flying burnet moths. Apparently.
Might have called it the twelve-spot burnet moth, myself.
Nothing wrong with being commonplace, I suppose. We can’t all be special. Or rare.
I’m pleased that having stopped cutting the lawn-that-is-now-the-meadow, we’re attracting all sorts of insects that otherwise would have flown on by; insects that I’m now seeing – and learning the names of.
Even if some of them are rather common.