A Garden In Devon

We’ve been away recently in Devon, and couldn’t resist the chance to investigate a new garden for wildlife, having rented a converted barn with accompanying garden. Much to our surprise this garden came with a small wild flower meadow, a remnant orchard and a second abandoned garden area. All surrounded by hedges and trees which we were allowed full access to. A full plant species list is given at the end of this write up along with a handful of photographs of some of our favourite species.

Dunkeswell Abbey (Devon) – Wildflower Meadow 10th July 2022

Not expecting such a treat, we hadn’t arrived with anything other than our copy of Britain’s Hoverflies, of which we found very few at all. As such we focused on a more easily recognisable order of insects, Lepidoptera and butterflies in particular. In total we recorded 12 (perhaps 13) species of butterfly, which considering this excluded some common species such as Speckled Wood, Comma, Small Whites, Green Veined Whites, Orange Tips and Peacocks we thought was doing ok.

The 12 or 13 (see note on Essex Skipper below) species recorded were. Small Tortoiseshell, Large Skipper, Small Skipper, Essex Skipper? Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Large White, Marbled White, Gatekeeper, Common Blue, Holly Blue, Red Admiral and Small Copper. Those species highlighted in bold are ones we have yet to record in our garden in Bristol and are pictured below.

Large Skipper – 10th July 2022
Small Skipper – 12th July 2022

Comparing the Small Skipper above with the specimen below, we feel the image below may be of an Essex Skipper. It doesn’t appear to have the orange/brown tip to the antennae which the Small Skipper clearly has. Instead it appeared to have a very dark tip to the antennae which is a distinguishing feature of this species. It is also lacking the chequered pattern on its wings which would otherwise suggest it was a Large Skipper. These features combined suggest this could well be an Essex Skipper, which is fairly common in the South and East of the Country.

Possible Essex Skipper – 13th July 2022
Ringlet – 10th July 2022
Marbled White – 12th July 2022
Common Blue – 14th July 2022
Small Copper – 15th July 2022

It was clear that we could spend our entire holiday just searching for invertebrates within the meadow, so we decided to simply recorded the species that stood out. Below are some of the ones recorded that at the time of writing this note have not been recorded in our garden in Bristol…

Common Red Soldier Beetle (Rhagonycha fulva) – 10th July 2022
Unknown Dagger Fly spp – 14th July 2022
Ground Beetle – Pterostichus spp – 10th July 2022
Eristalis arbustorum – 14th July 2022
Sericomyia silentis – 15th July 2022
A Harvestmen (Leiobunum rotundum) – 14th July 2022
Common Field Grasshopper (Chorthippus brunneus) – 14th July 2022
Meadow Plant Bug (Leptopterna dolabrata) – Female – 10th July 2022
Flesh Fly Species (with very white feet) – Family Sarcophagidae
Horsefly species – Tabanus spp – 10th July 2022
Vetch Aphid – Megoura viciae – 12th July 2022
Wasp Nest in Bird Box

We also recorded a few other species not yet recorded in our Bristol garden, but we were unable to get any photographs. Including the Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum). But perhaps the highlight of the whole week was finally seeing a Ruby-tailed Wasp which we had never seen before. Disappointed not to get a photograph but think of a wasp that mimics a neon-tetra tropical fish and you’ll probably be able to imagine it (or just google it).

And finally some of those meadow plants…

Black Knapweed – 12th July 2022
Common Birdsfoot-trefoil – 13th July 2022
Field Scabious – 13th July 2022
Fox & Cubs – 10th July 2022
Hoary Plantain – 10th July 2022
Pineapple Weed – 15th July 2022
Scentless Mayweed – 15th July 2022
Selfheal – 10th July 2022
Soft Shield Fern – 11th July 2022
Smooth Hawksbeard – 10th July 2022
Tufted Vetch – 11th July 2022
Wayfaring Tree – 14th July 2022

Full list of plant species recorded…

  1. Apple Trees
  2. Ash – Fraxinus excelsior
  3. Beech – Fagus sylvatica
  4. Hairy Bittercress – Cardamine hirsuta
  5. Black Knapweed – Centaurea nigra
  6. Blackthorn – Prunus spinosa
  7. Blue Crowned Passion Flower – Passiflora caerula
  8. Bramble – Rubus fruticosus
  9. Buddleia – Buddleja davidii
  10. Burdock – Arctium spp
  11. Cleavers – Galium aparine
  12. Cock’s-foot – Dactylus glomerata
  13. Common Bent – Agrostis capillaris
  14. Common Birdsfoot-trefoil – Lotus corniculatus
  15. Common Mouse Ear – Cerastium fontanum
  16. Common Nettle – Urtica dioica
  17. Creeping Cinquefoil – Potentilla reptans
  18. Creeping Thistle – Cirsium arvense
  19. Crested Dog’s-tail – Cynosurus cristatus
  20. Curled Dock – Rumex crispus
  21. Daisy – Bellis perennis
  22. Dotted Loosestrife – Lysimachia punctata
  23. Elder – Sambucus nigra
  24. English Oak – Quercus robur
  25. False Oat-grass – Arrhenatherum elatius
  26. Field Maple – Acer campestre
  27. Field Scabious – Knautia arvensis
  28. Fox & Cubs – Pilosella aurantiaca
  29. Garden Forget-me-not – Myosotis sylvatica
  30. Gooseberry – Ribes uva-crispa
  31. Hart’s-tongue Fern – Asplenium scolopendrium
  32. Hawk-bits – Leontodon spp
  33. Hawthorn – Crataegus monogyna
  34. Hazel – Corylus avellana
  35. Herb Robert – Geranium robertianium
  36. Hoary Plantain – Plantago media
  37. Hoary Willowherb – Epilobium parviflorum
  38. Hogweed – Heracleum sphondylium
  39. Honeysuckle – Lonicera spp
  40. Ivy – Hedera helix
  41. Lords & Ladies – Arum maculatum
  42. Meadow Buttercup – Ranunculus acris
  43. Meadow Vetchling – Lathyrus pratensis
  44. Oxeye Daisy – Leucanthemum vulgare
  45. Petty Spurge – Euphorbia peplus
  46. Pineapple Weed – Matricaria discoidea
  47. Red Clover – Trifolium pratense
  48. Red Dead Nettle – Lamium purpureum
  49. Red Valarian – Centranthus ruber
  50. Ribwort Plantain – Plantago lanceolata
  51. Roses – Various cultivars
  52. Perennial Ryegrass – Lolium perenne
  53. Scentless Mayweed – Tripleurospermum inodorum
  54. Selfheal – Prunella vulgaris
  55. Soft Shield Fern – Polystichum setiferum
  56. Smooth Hawksbeard – Crepis capillaris
  57. Square Stemmed Willowherb – Epilobium tetragonum
  58. Swamp Leather Flower – Clematis crispa
  59. Sweet Vernal-grass – Anthoxanthum odoratum
  60. Sycamore – Acer pseudoplatanus
  61. Tufted Vetch – Vicia cracca
  62. Wayfaring Tree – Viburnum lantana
  63. White Clover – Trifolium repens
  64. Yellow Rattle – Rhinanthus minor
  65. Yorkshire Fog – Holcus lanatus

DC – 31/07/2022