The Whitley Pump

The view from Katesgrove Hill

Whitley garden wildlife in September

Hummingbird hawk moth

Hummingbird hawk moth. Photo © David Turner

Temperatures reached a balmy 29ºC for a few days in September, although the average temperature was 19ºC. The weather dramatically changed on 22 September; it became very wet and remained wet but mild right through October.

These warm and sunny conditions in early September meant that flowers were still thriving and the bees, hoverflies, butterflies, moths and all manner of insects were loving it.

Late summer butterflies and moths

It was a pleasure to welcome a holly blue butterfly to the garden on the first day of the month. These butterflies are usually difficult to photograph, but this one obliged by resting on the Abelia shrub for some minutes.

The Abelia shrub is late-flowering and a magnet for butterflies, moths and bees. There is a hotlips Salvia near it, and these two shrubs attract so much wildlife and beauty to just outside my back door.

The hummingbird hawk moth just loves these two shrubs and never fails to appear in late summer; this year it appeared from 9 until 21 September. It is one of the most beautiful day-time moths as well as the most most difficult to photograph; it rarely lands and lives on the wing.

September was a particularly good month for moths because of the warm evenings, and the moth trap attracted some firsts for the garden. The most beautiful was the box moth. It may be lovely to look at, but is one of the most loathed because its caterpillars devastate box hedging across the country. There isn’t much box hedging in Whitley, so I am unsure why it chose my garden for that one evening.

I recorded plume moths, yellow underwings, old lady, shuttle shaped dart, vines rustic and a mint month this month; there were others I haven’t yet identified.

I also saw holly blue butteflies, red admiral, speckled wood, small and large white butterlies, as well as various bees and hoverflies. These were enjoying the ivy hedge as it started to bloom; batman hoverflies swarmed over the flowers.

Bubbles the hedgehog

You may recall me writing about Bubbles the hedgehog, who set up home in a pile of bubblewrap on the floor of my shed. By mid-month, Bubbles started making its home even more cosy for the winter months by bringing in mouthfuls of leaves. Its home is now twice the original size, with so much insulation. It has been amazing to follow this hedgehog’s journey through the eyes of a trail camera; I have never had the opportunity to watch the life of a hedgehog as it makes itself ready for hibernation.

Bubbles with bubblewrap

Bubbles with bubblewrap. Photo © David Turner

I was aware that the plastic bubblewrap could be a potential risk to the hedgehog and there was much debate and advice from my Twitter feed about it. A few hedgehog experts were amazed this hedgehog was happy to use bubblewrap, and they were astonished that it lined the bubblewrap with leaves! The bubblewrap had fallen off a shelf and it is amazing Bubbles actually found it.


Two of the four fox cubs are still in the garden each night, although I haven’t seen the vixen for a few weeks now. This is what you would expect in fox world at this time of the year. The cubs can be an issue as they start learning how to dig at this time of year; you invariably find holes all over the lawn after a night’s digging! They litter the garden with all manner of packets and takeaway food trays each morning after a night’s foraging.

This year's fox cub

This year’s fox cub. Photo © David Turner

Theft and vandalism

Camera equipment, sheds and a hide in my garden was trashed by an intruder in late September. It was absolutely devastating to see such wanton vandalism the following morning, and I am still in the process of clearing up and dealing with re-routing the electrics to make everything safe. It was not the happiest of endings for the month, but although a little demoralised, I will not be beaten and I intend to continue recording the garden wildlife again by the end of the year.

Mouse nest in a roll of ropes

  1. David Turner on Twitter and the Whitley Pump
  2. The natural and social pictorial history of a house in Whitley
  3. Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
  4. UK butterflies
  5. UK moths
  6. The Wildlife Trust
  7. British Dragonfly Society
  8. Woodland Trust
  9. Bee Conservation Trust

1 comment

  1. Lovely post. Thank you. So sorry to hear about the vandalism.

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