Sunday, 30 June 2013

Vestalis on musk

A Bombus vestalis cuckoo bumblebee on a musk thistle on the old platform in Willington station. She will, if things go to plan, find and take over a Bombus terrestris nest, killing its queen and getting the terrestris workers to raise her own young, which will be only males and females - no workers, so the nest will then die out. Not all bumblebees are hard workers!

Note: Ian Beavis has informed me that he believes this to be a male because of the length of antennae and non-smokey wings.

Blue-tailed damselflies

Blue-tailed damselflies making more Blue-tailed damselflies in Willington:

Three Dragons

Large dragonflies have been slow to appear and I doubled this season's tally in one day in Willington:

Black-tailed Skimmer: (Female (or possibly immature male) so didn't have a black tail, and wasn't skimming)

Four-spotted Chaser: (Had eight wings spots and wasn't chasing anything)

Southern Hawker: (Wasn't selling anything, but it was south of Watford Gap)

Depressed grasshopper

It was going to jump...

But I cheered it up...

Forget-me-not shieldbug

There were several of these all-black shieldbugs feeding on the developing seeds of forget-me-knot in Willington today. The common name, not unsurprisingly is the Forget-me-not Shieldbug, Sehirus luctuosus, a localized species apparently.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Bee Orchids

Bee Orchids (Bedfordshire's County Flower) are coming into flower now, this spike in Bromham 23rd June.

... and this splendid example on a road verge in Priory Business Park, Bedford on 25th June:

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Flitwick Moor Leps

Just a few of the larger Lepidoptera seen today at the Flitwick Moor Invertebrate Day...

A Mother Shipton first sighted by Ian W:

A Chimney Sweeper, impossible to approach for a decent photo, there in profusion:

A Latticed Heath found by Andy B:

Part of a population of well over 100 Peacock caterpillars found by yours truly:

Friday, 21 June 2013


Very challenging to get a photo of a Cinnabar that shows the hindwings. Took about 20 minutes at Mowsbury Hill to get this one, which will have to do until I get a better one...

Common Spotted-orchid

A couple of photos of Common Spotted-orchids at Mowsbury Hill...

...(with a bit of photoshoping just to see what happens).

Comma caterpillar

During an emergency gutter clearance of bryophytes I had to site the ladder in one of my nettle patches, dislodging a Comma caterpillar that I didn't know was there, now safely relocated to an untrampled patch...


Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Honey Bee nest

I'd found this Honey Bee nest a week ago and promised myself I'd return on a sunny afternoon when it would be properly lit. (Ha Ha!) There was thick cloud by the time that I arrived today so had to creep dangerously close and use flash to get these pics.

There was a row of inwardly-facing bees along the entrance which I presume are part of the air conditioning, causing a current by flapping their wings.

Focusing a bit deeper suggested there were more further inside doing the same.

Emperor Moth caterpillars

Four caterpillars of the Emperor Moth Saturnia pavonia feeding on goat willow near Stewartby. I had found 33 small caterpillars there on 9th June and took four of them to breed through to this stage, when I returned them to the collection site today. This is when and where these photos were taken. They'll have to fend for themselves again now! I couldn't find any of the other 29...

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Speckled Bush-cricket nymph

And in the front garden on mint, a Speckled Bush-cricket nymph...

Bordered Shieldbug

All sorts of interesting things turn up on the Tansy in my back garden, this Bordered Shieldbug for example this afternoon:

Bernard's FSC guide says it lives on Cleavers, which are only a shory crawl away, so it may have got lost.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Anaglyptus mysticus

I have a soft spot for this species of longhorn beetle, Anaglyptus mysticus, not just because of its wonderful name and lovely colouring, but because it was the first species of longhorn that I ever noticed. This one was at Mowsbury Hill NR at around 8pm, roosting, if that's the word for what beetles do at night...

Yellow Shell

Easily disturbed in grassland, requiring stealth to get a really good look, a Yellow Shell in mint condition at Mowsbury Hill:

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Spotted-orchid Spotting

Went wandering north of Odell today hoping for some interesting finds, but mostly concentrating on orchid hunting as part of the current survey. (See Found about 35 Common Spotted-orchids scattered around but nothing else...

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Luffia ferchaultella

On my back fence today were at least a dozen Luffia ferchaultella micro moth larvae with a case constructed from bands of lichen. This was my favourite:

The fence was treated with preservative only about six weeks ago, so I'm not sure where they came from, or what they are now feeding upon!

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Large White Cats like Garlic Mustard

Looked for Orange Tip caterpillars on my garden Garlic Mustard without luck, but stumbled across a couple of Large White caterpillars instead which was a nice surprise...

Sunday, 2 June 2013

More broomstick bees

An Osmia bicolor flying in on stems to cover the shell in which its young will develop, at Sandy Smith NR today:

Bubble-blowing Bug

A Green Shieldbug blowing bubbles at Sandy Smith NR:

Sandy Smith NR leps

A oouple of lepidoptera at Sandy Smith NR today:

Commophila aeneana (develops on the roots of Ragwort - so don't pull up all of them!)

A fresh Brown Argus:

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Another Dingy

A second Dingy Skipper at Old Warden Tunnel NR. Has the species established a population there...?

Elytra-less longhorn

A rather unusual discovery on a Renhold roadside. A longhorn beetle without any elytra (wing cases). I don't know how this came about, there are a couple of "wounds" on the thorax, and the wings look a little bit torn, so possibly attacked by a preditor, or maybe just born this way? I'm not even sure bout the species, but possibly Anaglyptus mysticus?