Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Ivy Bee - Colletes hederae

I finally had my first Bedfordshire encounter with Ivy Bees (Colletes hedereae) today where there is a large aggregation in the paths at Cottage Bottom Fields in TL03642098.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Grey Dagger

Noted this Grey Dagger moth caterpillar on quince in my garden. (Taken on my new Panasonic TZ-90 which I'm still getting to grips with).

Friday, 8 September 2017

Volucella zonaria

Cabin fever forced me out for a walk around the block this evening. I pocketed my new Panasonic TZ-90, just in case, and glad that I did as I spotted this Volucella zonaria on ivy flowers in the gloom of late evening. (Still getting to grips with the new camera so may need to fiddle with flash settings a bit more...)

Saturday, 26 August 2017


Spotted this male Vapourer moth resting briefly on my kitchen window this lunchtime:

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Hornets' Nest

I was heading towards an oak tree in Rowney Warren to beat insects from it when I had a change of plan, taking a few cautious shots of this hornets' nest instead. As I was standing in their flight path and thereby causing some interest to the residents I didn't hang around for long.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Ladybird #17 - Adonis

After a tip-off from Rosemary I visited Knocking Hoe this morning to find lots of Adonis ladybirds on the moon carrot on the top of the mound. They were quite a bit smaller than I'd expected. It was blowing a gale up there so I should be content with these from a bunch of blurry and out of focus efforts...

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Box Bug

As you enter Priory Country Park by the main entrance there is a buckthorn to the left of the driveway, on which are lots of nymphs and adults of the Box Bug Gonocerus acuteangulatus...

Ladybird #16 - 16-spot

I'd seen 16-spot ladybirds twice earlier this year, but this time I finally managed to photograph one. I'd just sat down on a bench at Priory Country Park when I noticed at my feet several scampering through the grass. Nearly impossible to photograph there I managed to put one onto the bench where it whizzed along at an impressive speed, but occasionally paused when it found something to eat, allowing a few snaps.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Shieldbug #13 - Crucifer

I'm recovering from hand surgery at the moment so my ladybird/shieldbug quest is on pause, however while walking around Priory Country Park today with my brother and sister-in-law Paul spotted something on a nettle that I recognized as a missing shieldbug, the Crucifer. You will have to make do with a left-handed phone pic until I'm well enough to wield a DSLR again.

Here's a rather better picture from Knocking Hoe on 18/08/17 where I found one sheltering from the gale on a moon carrot.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Garden valezina!

The most exciting thing to turn up in my garden since, well, forever! My first garden Silver-washed Fritillary was a valezina, and not only that but she appeared to lay several eggs on my garage wall. I'm now searching every brick through a magnifying glass, but sadly haven't found one yet...

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Jersey Tiger

My tiny Bedford garden is doing rather well for exciting things this season. This is my first Jersey Tiger, which hung around for several hours today.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Six-belted Clearwing

This was a nice surprise, a Six-belted Clearwing swept in the cutting at Old Warden Tunnel today. Andy Banthorpe says that it is the first record for the site.

Shieldbug #12 - Tortoise

Not quite the finished article - 4th and 5th instar nymphs of the Tortoise shieldbug Eurygaster testudinaria - but they count as the 12th shieldbug species of the year. Swept in the cutting at Old Warden Tunnel today.

Friday, 23 June 2017

pirri pirri burr - Acaena novae-zelandiae

Concerned to note that there are quite a lot of patches of pirri pirri burr (Acaena novae-zelandiae) alongside Cooper’s Hill SSSI in the region of TL0273 3752 (south of the rugby pitches, west of the SSSI). New plants are establishing. This is a highly invasive species...

Carcina quercana

I knew that I recognized this as soon as it fell into my beating tray at Cooper's Hill, though I didn't know why. It was only when I reached for Sterling, Parsons and Lewington's Field Guide to the Micro Moths of Great Britain and Ireland that I realized that it was on the cover!

White earwig

It's quite common to have earwigs drop into my beating tray but I've never had a white one before! I believe that it was because it had just undergone ecdysis and hadn't coloured-up yet. (At Cooper's Hill today).

Shieldbug #11 - Red-legged

Nearly every tree that I beat at Cooper's Hill today had Red-legged Shieldbugs tumbling out of them into my tray.

Some had redder legs than others:

The were mostly adults but there were a few final instar too:

Monday, 19 June 2017

There are Tigers in my garden!

I spotted a Scarlet Tiger flying in my garden this afternoon which eluded the camera (and me) for a while, but I eventually found it skulking under the buddleia.

Half an hour later I found another. (The spots are slightly different if you look closely).

They don't like flash though, unlike most insects that don't seem to notice it, so make your first attempt at a photo a good one as you may not get a second!

I wonder why they like my garden as I don't have any larval foodplant (e.g comfrey or green alkanet). Maybe it's just because its a bit of a wild oasis in an urban desert.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Marbled White poser

This Marbled White had already roosted before I found it, so it was posing on the Bedfordshire flower for its own gratification! (At Mowsbury Hill LNR this evening).

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Comma Caterpillars

Several Comma caterpillars were nearing maturity on Elm suckers near to Roxton Lock today:

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Ladybird #15 - 24-spot

I was at Totternhoe today helping with the man orchid monitoring and just before the end Wilf Powell did some sweeping of low vegetation. He found this 24-spot ladybird, the only ladybird that I'd seen all day, and fortunately one of my "missing" species. The elytra are covered with fine hairs.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Shieldbug #10 - Forget-me-not

Yes, I know it's out of focus! I was carrying my Nikon P7800 today for some stupid reason and it isn't great at macro - the background is sharp though! Anyway, it is of the Forget-me-not Shieldbug and was at Rookery Pit. (There are similar shield bug species with lighter bits around the edge put this one was pure black, hence Forget-me-not).

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Shieldbug #9 - Bishop's Mitre

This was intended only as a "banker" shot, and glad that I took it, as it flew off immediately afterwards. Swept at Sandy Smith NR, the Bishop's Mitre shieldbug

Ladybird #14 - Kidney Spot

I only saw two ladybirds all day today, one harlequin and this Kidney Spot Ladybird, fortunately one of my "missing" species. This was crawling on the trunk of an Ash tree at Sandy Smith NR. This species is most frequently seen crawling on trunks and branches where it is looking for scale insects to eat.

Chrysolina fastuosa?

I'm hoping/presuming that this is the bum of Chrysolina fastuosa which feeds on white dead nettle and is what it was on at Sandy Smith NR. I clumsily knocked it off when trying for a better picture and lost it in the undergrowth!

Friday, 12 May 2017

Red Admiral

I've seen a few more Red Admirals in the last week, possibly from a migration. Here's one basking in bright cloud at Mowsbury Hill today. (I remembered to under-expose when spot metering on the centre to get "blacks" rather than "greys" which is what happens with default metering).