Tuesday, 7 September 2010

It's the way you crop them...

Struggled today, coming back from Mowsbury Hill LNR with relatively boring photos, so put my arty head on and cropped as imaginatively as I could:

A seed-eating beetle:

7-spot ladybirds clustered in a medlar:

Why the long face? A scorpion-fly:

Stained glass effect of the thorax through the wings of a Common Darter:

A second crop from the same picture, of part of a compund eye:

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Apple Mine

There were around 25 Vespula vulgaris excavating into this single apple at Mowsbury Hill LNR.


Here's one making off with some pulp:

Monday, 30 August 2010

Red-legged Shieldbug

A photogenically positioned Pentatoma rufipes dead centre of an angelica umbel at West Wood.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Wavendon Heath

It was hard work today in the windy and changeable weather finding things of interest and it was only a small area of Wavendon Heath that caught the eye.

There was this rather nicely marked female Common Blue on the heather:

Some lichens of the genus Peltigera shaded by heather. (I had thought these to be liverworts, but thanks to Alan Outen for correcting me):


And thank goodness for fences, with a pair of robber flies

and a micro moth larva encased in twigs:

Monday, 23 August 2010

Hunting flies

There was an abundance of flies feeding on mint at Sandy Smith NR, making it an ideal hunting ground for Mellinus arvensis wasps. It was interesting to watch them stalk their prey. This one got away:

but this one wasn't so lucky!

Here's a sequence of stalking,
stinging to paralyse

wrestling

shaking violently

and finally hugging

before eventually flying off with it to her nest.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Flying Wolf

I love trying to show insects in action, but getting a decent picture rarely comes off. I spotted this female Philanthus triangulum, the Bee Wolf, coming towards me at Sandy Smith NR and grabbed a few shots, but only this one was vaguely in focus:


Then she turned sideways towards her burrow and I was able to grab a few as she went past:

The honey bee she was carrying was then buried as food for her young. Here the burrow is being re-opened on her return, having concealed it with sand when she left:

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Blunham Lizard

A lizard on a fencepost at Blunham actually turned its head sideways for the photo, its best side presumably.

Shame about the out-of-focus blade of grass in the foreground that I didn't notice!

Photo by Keith Balmer

Dolichovespula

For some reason I'd been avoiding trying to ID social wasps until recently, but am now trying to get to grips. Here's a couple of Dolichovespula photographed in Chicksands Wood yesterday with ID tips added. There are only four Dolichovespula species and four Vespula species so there aren't too many to get to know...

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Chicksands Wood

I first thought this was a bishop's mitre but it didn't seem right so took a few pics which enabled confirmation as Eurygaster testudinaria the Tortoise Shieldbug. Bernard Nau and Sheila Brooke confirmed the ID, adding that they had recently found nymphs but this was the first adult record for the county.


Nearby was this stunning fly which deserved photographing. Many thanks to Stephen Plummer and John O'Sullivan for identifying as a male Phasia hemiptera tachinid fly.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Renhold Hedge

In a hedge north of Renhold was a Magpie laying on Blackthorn


and buff-tip larvae on an oak...

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Watch your weevil

This Cerceris arenaria on Maulden Heath flies in with a weevil to stock her nest hole for her young to develop on.

However the hole had become obscured while she was away and she had to put down her prey to dig it open.
While her back was turned an opportunist Hedychrum niemelai (maybe) lays an egg on the weevil. Unless it was removed by the C.arenaria the ruby-tail's grub will kill the C.arenaria's grub and take over the food-store for itself

WLH laying?

This female White-letter Hairstreak in Maulden Wood was walking along Elm branches and seemingly laying on buds, typically near the ends of the branches, but on close inspection afterwards I couldn't find any eggs. Still, it shows where on elms to look for them during the winter months...

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Wilstead Wood

A pleasant assortment of creatures at large today, beginning with an impressive Volucella inanis (I think, unless it is V.zonaria?)


Then a crab spider with the remains of a Barred Yellow:

The surprise of the day was a Red-tipped Clearwing. (There are a lot of goat willows in the wood on which it may have bred, which is why I was there looking for Purple Emperors (none seen)). It flew off immediately after this fuzzy banking shot, never to be seen again:

There was a nice selection of common butterflies (plus White Admiral and White-letter Hairstreak). Meadow Brown (female):

Ringlet and Small White:

Red Admiral:

Large Skipper:

Brown Argus:

Over-seeing it all was this five-legged Volucella pellucens (taken at 1/8000 second):

Sunday, 18 July 2010

King's Wood, H&R

Here are two of the 22 species seen this afternoon on a Butterfly Conservation field trip to King's Wood, Heath and Reach; two of seven Silver-washed Fritillaries and an obliging Purple Hairstreak:



Saturday, 26 June 2010

Black Haistreak

I was fortunate to turn up at Marston Thrift today just as this Black Hairstreak was coming down to take moisture from a ride-side bramble: