Sunday, November 02, 2014

Oh deer, I didn't find any beatles....

It was November 25th of 2013 when I last visited Knole Park in Sevenoaks and so last week, I went again. This time I used the main entrance and so had to wait until 10.15am for the gates to open. There were plenty of deer around though, even close to the house itself...

I even found a big stag this time and was delighted to see it was a white one...

What an impressive beast this one is and I love the rufous colour of his antlers...

If you look closely, you can see that he's been fighting recently. Probably challenging another stag for domination of the harem...

I took an unhealthy amount of pictures of this big boy but, just couldn't stop myself-here's one of me stalking him...

Then I spotted a real cute youngster...

This is the kind of habitat that the deer are free to roam around in at Knole...

Didn't get time to look around the house but ventured into one of the courtyards, where I saw this large sculpture-I tried my best to preserve his modesty with a sunbeam, but didn't quite manage it...

There were lots of noisy jackdaws hanging around the grounds and so I thought I'd have a bash at photographing a couple of those as well...

That was my day at Knole with the deer, but now I have some news about the Death's Head Hawk-moths. I have to report that they have all passed away now but I did manage to keep them for around 6 weeks, I think it was. They are not long-lived moths and the longest I have read of anyone ever keeping them is 9 weeks, with most at less than a month. Anyhow, I decided one morning to clean out the flight cage they had been housed in and was shocked to find on closer inspection, they had left me a present of around 30 eggs!

I had given up on the moths mating and had stopped inspecting for any signs of ova and so this was a treat to find....

I have removed them to a container and they are currently in the bottom of the airing cupboard for warmth. Having researched as much as I could,the advice seems to be that it is better to allow/encourage them to emerge and then grow them on as larvae until they pupate, and then overwinter as pupae. The food plant of privet is evergreen and so is still available for them. 
I have no idea whether they will be viable and apparently the time as eggs is variable depending on temperature, but is always fairly short.

I read that the average is about 4 days but I seem to remember the first batch I had took seven.

I will let you know if I do get lucky and have more caterpillars-last time I only had 4 emerge from 15 ova but as I have about double that number this time, you never know.

I will leave you with this drawing as a way of explaining a comment on my last blog update; you may recall reading a very nice comment about my close-up shot of the moth 'claws'? Which said something like 'A stonking tarsi close-up'..I wondered if some folks may not be aux fait with the term 'tarsi' (tarsus) and so this should help..

AS for any American, or overseas readers in might have to Google 'stonking'? 

Until the next time...


  1. Looks like a nice place to visit, stunning photos of the Deer, but your first photo of the jackdaw made me laugh...great shot. There has been allot of talk this year about the Death's Head Hawk-moths, on TV and blogs I follow, it would be great to see how your eggs get on.
    Amanda xx

  2. Thanks Amanda. Yes Knole is always interesting to visit and it's not too far from me. That Jackdaw made me smile too, I think it's the piercing eyes? I have also seen lots about the moths this year; for some reason they do seem to have got a lot of coverage. I will update the blog with any news of the eggs.


  3. I visited Knole many years ago with my children.

    The captures of the deer are beautiful......the stag is magnificent, I can understand your stalking him.

    Absolutely fabulous picture of the Jackdaw..........

    1. Thank-you for your lovely comment Cheryl (and for discovering my little blog) Knole is a beautiful place and the fallow deer are special animals. Jackdaws seem to have an association with them as they do seem to appear where the deer are across the country.

  4. Fantastic Bambi shots! As for the eggs, I thought they were grapes until I read the text. :-)

    This is very exciting news, so I really hope they hatch out. Funny how you mention privet being evergreen, I had also thought so until I had a privet hedge when I lived near Geneva, where it most definitely dropped its leaves in the autumn. I guess there's a temperature below which it doesn't like. Or maybe I had a different kind of privet from the kind I remembered from England where it is very common, as you probably know. :-)

    1. Thanks as always Mandy-I appreciate you taking time out to comment. I think privet can be semi-evergreen or evergreen actually but around here, there is a hedge I see that does seem to stay green all winter. There are of course many varieties. JJ.

  5. Gorgeous deer shots! Knole Park is stunning at this time of year!
    Love the Jackdaws; they do indeed have beautiful eyes!

    Fabulous news about the eggs too JJ! Look forward to hearing how they progress!

    Gave me a giggle too about the use of 'stonking'! I love that word and thought it quite appropriate! ;-)

    Maria x


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