August 2014 was another mostly warm and dry month with only two days with significant rain, one those being very wet. There was one day near the end of the month when the air temperature dropped to just above zero and the grass temperature went below freezing and this seemed to have an effect on the abundance and of diversity of certain wildlife from then until the end of the month and into September. Twelve more species were added to the Garden’s list during the month, bringing it up from 709 to 721. Eight of these were moths, one a hoverfly, one a bug, one a beetle and the remaining one was, surprisingly, the first record for the Garden of Common Toad (13th).
Butterflies — August 2014 was another good month for butterflies in the Garden with 23 sightings of 6 different species. The most frequently seen were Green-veined White (on 9 days), Small White (on six days) and Peacock (five days). There were single records of Small Copper (4th), Small Tortoiseshell (5th), and Comma (14th).
Moths — Several nights of moth trapping in the Garden by Scottish Wildlife Trust volunteers resulted in some good numbers of moths and six new records: Dun-bar and Common Carpet on 6th, Rosy Rustic, Orange Swift and Pied Smudge (all on 13th) and Ingrailed Clay (18th). Nettle-tap was another new Garden record (20th) but this was a day-flying species seen by me on Corn Marigold in the Arable Weed Plot.
Other insects – Edinburgh’s Wool Carder Bees were recorded on three dates during August the month with the final sighting being on 14th in the Demonstration Garden. Tree Bumblebee was recorded again (7th) and the red-and-black solitary wasp Mimesa equestris was seen on one of its favourite plants, Fennel, on 5th..
Another Black Darter dragonfly was seen, and photographed, in the Garden on 8th – the second record in the space of two weeks after none since at least 2006.
August did indeed prove to better for hoverflies than were June or July, with 15 species being recorded during the month compared with nine in June and 11 in July. One, Platycheirus granditarsus, was a new record for the Garden. Marmalade Hoverflies were recorded on most days but in nothing like the abundance of a couple of years ago when they were present in thousands.
Tarnished Plant Bug, found on ragwort in the Ecological Meadow, was a new Garden record (20th). Large numbers of Birch Shield Bugs, both adults and nymphs (immature stages) were seen on birch leaves and catkins in mid-month and a Parent Bug was also recorded (8th). The leaf beetle Crepidodera aurea was a new Garden record (15th). Few ladybirds were seen, with only 7-spot Ladybird being recorded, on three days.
Seventeen species of leaf-mining fly were recorded, as well as six leaf-mining moths (one of them being a new Garden record) and five gall-forming mites.
Birds The lull in bird activity that began in July continued throughout August and only 30 species were recorded. Several species that have been frequent visitors through most of the year were absent or rarely seen — these included Long-tailed Tit, Stock Dove, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Goldfinch, all recorded only once or twice, while Goldcrest and Song Thrush were not recorded at all. Chiffchaff, however, was present till the month’s end and a Swallow was seen on 4th. The Tawny Owl that had occupied one of the Garden’s owl boxes earlier in the year but which had been absent for some weeks returned on 31st. The full list of bird species recorded at the Edinburgh Garden in August was: Blackbird, Blackcap, Black-headed Gull, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Coal Tit, Dunnock, Feral Pigeon, Goldfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Grey Heron, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Long-tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Moorhen, Robin, Sparrowhawk, Stock Dove, Swallow, Tawny Owl, Tree Creeper, Wood Pigeon, Wren