Friday, 25 March 2011

..., Bees Do It, ...

A moment of voyeurism at Marston Vale Millennium Country Park. Not sure of the species yet...

Light Orange Underwing

The were quite a lot of flighty Orange Underwing grp moths flying at Marston Thrift today, but just a few allowed me to get close enough for a photo. This one confirmed as being Light Orange Underwing because of the antennae. Andy and Melissa confirmed this as the first record at the wood since 1976:

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Horsehair Worm?

Rather an odd discovery, about 10cm long and less than 1mm thick, swimming in a wheel rut in Sandy, what I presume to be some sort of horsehair worm:

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Rowney Warren and Sandy Smith NR

A late morning visit to Rowney Warren was rewarded with sightings of all five species of over-wintering butterfly.

First was a Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) refuelling on a willow:


A male Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni) was more intent on subathing than anything else:


Then a treat to see a Peacock (Inachis io), a rarer-than-normal species after last year's poor breeding season:


Commas (Polygonia c-album) were in abundance (well I counted four anyway)...


Also had a couple of sightings of Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae), but as at Cooper's Hill last week, they were camera-shy.

I also picked up a queen Dolichovespula saxonica wasp that was lying on her back twitching. I've tried some TLC at home, warming her under my microscope lights and offering diluted honey but there is no feeding response. It's a shame that she survived the tough winter only to probably die now the warmer weather is here, unable to start a nest. (I don't suppose all my readers will feel the same way about a wasp!)


Then on to Sandy Smith Nature Reserve where honey bees (Apis mellifera) were hard at work on a young willow:


Saturday, 12 March 2011

First taste of spring

Its been a very long winter since my last posting, but at last insects are reappearing and the song of my camera shutter can be heard again.

A brief visit to Cooper's Hill in early afternoon was rewarded by a female Andrena clarkella starting a nest. (Thanks to Tim Strudwick on the www.bwars.com forum for the ID). Apparently they have an association with sallow catkins for pollen - I wonder if there is any in the wet bit by the rugby club?


A male minotaur beetle (Typhaeus typhoeus) usually nocturnal, out for a stroll. (There are quite a few expired ones laying around now if anyone wants any for a nature table). There must be quite a large population judging by all the holes.


A few Green Tiger Beetles (Cicindela campestris) had emerged and could be disturbed along the paths:



Even saw my first butterfly of the year, a Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae), but it didn't hang around to be photographed.

A layer of altostratus then crept across the sky and put an end to the fun.