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Pretty as a Peacock


You may have noticed clusters of these black, bristly caterpillars on Holt Island recently. These are the caterpillars of the Peacock butterfly – you may also see these beautiful butterflies in your garden. The females lays around 500 eggs, usually on nettles (which are plentiful on Holt Island), which the caterpillars also eat. When the caterpillars hatch – after about two weeks – they spin a web in which they live and feed as a community. As they grow they live more in the open. The adult butterflies emerge in July.

Did you know? The “eye spots” on the Peacock butterfly are used to scare off predators.

Peacock butterfly caterpillars

Peacock butterfly

 

Musk Beetle in the meadow


Musk BeetleWe had a visit from a Brownie Pack this week and went on a bug hunt. We were absolutely delighted when sharp eyed members of the group spotted two Musk beetles as we searched. These long-horn beetles have very long antennae and can measure as much as 4cm! They are widespread but scarce throughout the UK, but wetlands like the Fens are where they are most often found, with the larvae living in the wood of willow trees.

Photo © Alison Gray

 

Holt Island is an oasis of tranquillity in the centre of St Ives town. The Island provides a variety of habitats which attract a wide range of birds, mammals, plants and insects.


Formerly used to grow willow for basket-making, the Island became overgrown when this ended. This changed its appearance and attracted many different types of wildlife. Today the island is home to mammals such as voles, shrews, deer, badgers, bats and foxes. Plants such as yellow flag iris, purple loosestrife and comfrey thrive. Tortoiseshell, red admiral and peacock butterflies can be seen along with dragonflies and damselflies. And a huge variety of birds including kingfishers, warblers, and blackcaps can be seen. For more information about what you could see CLICK HERE.

The Island has a raised boardwalk, which makes the Reserve accessible to prams and wheelchairs, and there is plenty of seating, some with picnic tables. The Holt cabin, complete with bench seating, a nature table, books and children's activity sheets and displays is worth a visit. For more information to plan your visit CLICK HERE.

We have events and activities taking place throughout the season – see the links on our home page for more information.

We have an amazing video on YouTube which tells you all about Holt Island and shows it in its Autumn glory  CLICK HERE TO WATCH

For a downloadable information leaflet CLICK HERE.

 

 

 

 


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