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).

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Centrotus cornutus

Two Centrotus cornutus at Sharnbrook Summit conveniently arranged to show their extraordinary construction from two angles

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Silpha laevigata

I spotted this trotting along the field margin while beating confers at Stanford Wood. It seems to key out quite easily from the photos as Silpha laevigata, thanks to Andy Banthorpe's website at which includes a key. (Seems to match Googles images too, though this method of ID'ing needs to be treated with caution!). I've iRecord'd the record for the Carrion Beetles Recording Scheme.

Ladybird #13 - 18-spot

Moved my hunt for the final two conifer-based ladybird species to Stanford Wood today and was immediately showered with 18-spots which were beaten from almost every conifer tree. Amazing, given that I'd visited nearby Rowney Warren many times without seeing any. Cream-streaked Ladybirds were also quite common in Stanford Wood, but just one Eyed Ladybird. Striped Ladybird still eludes me...

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Ladybird #12 - Water

On a cold cloudy day I couldn't go butterfly surveying (in fact I never saw one all day!) so decided to try the overflow channel on the Riverside part of Priory Country Park for the Water ladybird. I eventually found a couple by beating vegetation at the water's edge.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Pogonocherus hispidulus

Another visit to Rowney Warren to try for additional ladybird species proved fruitless except for a longhorn beetle Pogonocherus hispidulus beaten from a Rowan.

My initial identification as Pogonocherus hispidus was corrected by the national longhorn recording scheme. Although I was aware of the similarity of the two species I thought the character that I was looking for (a blunt central tooth at the apex of the elytra) would be more obvious than it was. The white mark on the scutellum on Pogonocherus hispidulus is apparently an easier characteristic to see.

Turns out this was therefore my first encounter with Pogonocherus hispidulus but I didn't recognize it for what it was!

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Common Blue damselflies

My first Odonata of the year weren't Large Red damselflies as usual but instead were Common Blue damselflies. Teneral, so they don't yet have their colouring. Males (top) and females (bottom) seen at the old station in Willington today.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Shieldbug #8 - Juniper

Found this Juniper Shieldbug Cyphostethus tristriatus on a fence post at Sharnbrook Summit today while doing fence repairs. (We were doing the repairs, not the shieldbug).

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Slender Groundhopper

Swept this Slender Groundhopper, Tetrix subulata at Fenlake Meadows. I was trying to get a photo with a more natural substrate than my hand when it went off "ping" into the undergrowth, and that was that!

Ladybird #11 - 22-Spot

Found this 22-spot ladybird while unsuccessfully looking for water ladybird at Fenlake Meadows:

Shieldbug #7 - Woundwort

I've been checking my garden woundwort every day waiting for this shieldbug to appear which it finally did today. The Woundwort Shieldbug Eysarcoris venustissimus

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Ladybird #10 - Orange

Beaten from a conifer in Chicksands Wood, the Orange Ladybird:

Ladybird #9 - 14-spot

Beaten from brambles in Chicksands Wood, the variably-marked 14-spot ladybird


Weevil beaten from, and restored to, a field maple

Early Purple Orchid

The Orchid season has begun. Here's an Early Purple Orchid from today...

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Shieldbug # 6 - Pied

These little Pied Shieldbugs Tritomegas bicolor weren't slowing down for anyone today and this is the best picture I could grab as they whizzed around white dead nettles on which they live, near Roxton.

Ladybird #8 - Cream Spot

This Cream Spot Ladybird was beaten from a hawthorn at the confluence of the Rivers Great Ouse and Ivel. Slightly over-exposed, and so was I in today's sunshine!

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Shieldbug #5 - Green

Another active insect at Cooper's Hill, this one being the Green Shieldbug Palomena prasina

Ladybird #7 - 7-spot

Who'd have thought that the 7-spot would be my seventh spot! At Cooper's Hill - very mobile, hence a bit blurry.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Ladybird #6 - Larch

I have been holding off posting this photo until the ID was confirmed as I wasn't too confident. Helen Roy of the Ladybird Recording Scheme has confirmed it as the Larch Ladybird, another new species for me, and #6. Also at Rowney Warren, on 2nd April.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Green Tiger Beetle

Plenty of Green Tiger Beetles at Rowney Warren today, mostly flying away whenever I approached, but this one held its nerve for a close-up:

Common lizard

While looking for heather ladybirds (unsuccessfully) at Rowney Warren I stumbled across a couple of Common Lizards. Here's one that was quite bold and actually ran towards me

Melanotaenium ari / Melanustilospora ari

Possibly a new county first for a smut Melanotaenium ari / Melanustilospora ari (both names have been suggested as current) which causes galls on Lords and Ladies (Arum Lily). In Rowney Warren, on just a single plant.

The NBN Atlas ( shows records only for Shropshire, Surrey and Herefordshire in the British Mycological Society's dataset. How did it turn up in a Bedfordshire wood, and is it under-recorded here, or is this just a single plant...?

Shieldbug #4 - Hairy/Sloe

This Hairy/Sloe Shieldbug was found at Rowney Warren in a clump of heather while unsuccessfully looking for heather ladybirds.

Ladybird #5 - Eyed

Also found just one Eyed Ladybird while beating conifers at Rowney Warren today

And here's another from Cooper's Hill on 8th April. The darkness on its left elytron was a defect on the insect and not a shadow or dodgy photo.

Ladybird #4 - Cream-streaked

It took hours of beating conifers at Rowney Warren to find this ladybird, but worth the effort as it was a new species to me. The Cream-streaked Ladybird.

And here's another, more typical colouring, from Cooper's Hill on 8th April