26 May 2010

Wasp Beetle - Clytra arietis

Sometimes you don't need to go looking....

This beauty just appeared in the kitchen late at night. A great and colourful example of a  Longhorn Beetle. This one is a wasp mimic although (apart from the colour) he didn't act very wasp like. However the next day I also saw one flying around the vegetable patch and it was a lot more active and could have been mistaken for a wasp.

20 May 2010

Grove Hill, Nr Alcester, Warwickshire

Grove Hill is a small limestone escarpment not far from Alcester. You can walk around the foot of the escarpment on a fairly flat path or make the short but very steep ascent through woodland to the top.

There are a couple of ponds and the first one I came across was teeming with Damselflies. They were mainly these Large Red Damselfly but there were also a smaller number of blue ones

Large Red Damselfly - Pyrrhosoma nymphula
A male and a female  :-)

Broad Bodied Chaser - Libellula depressa

Not a great picture but these guys are very fast and when they do stop they don't come close and if you try to get closer they are easily spooked. There were about 3 of these and I didn't notice any other dragonflies.

View from base of Grove Hill looking towards Oversley Wood

Path along thebase of Grove Hill

Hoverfly - Cheilosia variabilis ?

Click Beetle - Athous haemorrhoidalis

Click beetles named after the click they make when they try to right themselves if they end up on their backs.

The second pond was very low on water and it looked like there had been an attempt to refill it with a hose. Interestingly there were still a load of tadpoles.

What is this?

I saw this on two separate wild rose bushes. A bright orange powdery looking growth. I am guessing that it is some kind of a gall and there is a gall that appears on Wild Rose , Diplolepis rosae . This is more moss like but maybe what I saw was the remains of last years galls?

18 May 2010

Worcester Woods Country Park

Worcester Woods Country Park is owned by Worcester County Council and is nestled between Worcester Royal Hospital and County Hall so it is quite busy on a sunny lunchtime with council and Hospital workers taking a break. a great setting to work in. It is split into two distinct areas, Meadow and Woodland.

Lots of small caterpillars on the leaves of trees and I wouldn't even try to identify which they are but this was a nice picture of how this caterpillar tries to make itself look like a bit of tree branch to hide itself from predators.

Hoverfly - Scaeva pyrastri

Longhorn Beetle - Anaglyptus mysticus

Soldier Beetle - Cantharis sp

Compare with Cantharis Pellucida which does not have the black heart shaped  mark.
 Click on the image to enlarge

Oak Apple
A Gall on an Oak bud which is produced when the Gall wasp Biorhiza pallida lays its eggs and the tissues around the grub swell up

Nut Weevil -

17 May 2010

Feckenham Wylde Moor

This is a small wetland marsh reserve managed by Worcestershire Wildlife Trust. Typical Reed bed habitat is found here with the associated Warblers, Reed Buntings, Cuckoos etc.One Cuckoo was heard calling but I didn't spot it.

Soldier Beetle - Cantharis pellucida
So named not because of any war like tendencies but because their black and red markings are reminiscent of 19th century military uniforms

Ichneumon Wasp - not sure which
Ichneumons are a group of parasitic wasps which lay there eggs in the larvae of moths,butterflies and hoverflies

Cardinal Beetle - Pyrochroa serraticornis
Note the serrated antennae and the all red head

Can't quite identify which species

Leucozona Lucorum - Hoverfly

Grey Heron - Ardea cinera

Oversley Wood

Visited Oversley Wood on sunny spring afternoon. There was a bit of a breeze so there weren't so many insects on the wing but here is a selection.

Syrphus ribesii - Hoverfly

Scorpion Fly - Panorpa communis
Strange looking creatures almost comical with its large "beak" (click to see enlarged). Quite a few about.
This one is a male as it has a rounded abdomen. The females is pointed.

Leucozona lucorum - Hoverfly

Leaf Beetle - Gastrophysa viridula
Lots of these about. This is a "pregnant" female with its swollen abdomen full of eggs

Comma - Polygonia c-album

Green Tortoise Beetle(s) - Cassida viridis
Armour plated and camouflaged leaf  beetle. Only saw them in one area but there was at least a dozen of them, many of the mating

St Marks fly - Bibio marci
I think this is a female as the males apparently have a larger head with large compound eyes.

Coton Lakes, Warwickshire

Last Saturday I had a wander round ,in North Warwickshire. Glorious sunny day, a bit breezy.

This rather docile Female  Banded Demoiselle was on the path up to the hide and remained on this one piece of grass for  at least 15 minutes. I wondered if it was newly "emerged" and was drying its wings. There were also a number of smaller damselflies close to the river.

I came across this sapling with its strange infestation.
This is in  fact the protective casing for a Gall wasp Larvae a tiny creature with a huge bomb proof shelter from which it eventually emerges. The gall is actually produced by the host plant reacting to some chemical trigger and serves as both shelter and food supply for the larvae. Quite fascinating. I think these are last years vacated galls.

Hunting Spider
 I'm not a huge spider fan, they give me the creeps but I came across this Hunting Spider lying in wait on a Nettle leaf so took a picture.

It must have heard the shutter and its aggressive instincts kicked in and it turned and reared up to me..!

9 May 2010

Grafton Wood

Went for a walk around Grafton Wood today. Grafton Wood is jointly owned and managed as a nature reserve by Worcestershire Wildlife Trust and The Butterfly Conservation society. As you would imagine it is a good place for butterflies and even supports the only West Midlands population of the rare Brown Hairstreak, although this is the wrong time of year to see it.
It was a beautiful sunny spring day and we walked for a couple of hours and did not see one other person. We had the wood to ourselves and it was a very peaceful oasis. The only sounds came from the drumming woodpeckers and other birds singing.


Speckled Wood - Pararge aegeria

Quite a few of these about together with Orange Tips, Whites, Peacocks

Green Veined White

Holly Blue

A rather battered specimen of a  Peacock.

I also managed to spot this handsome looking caterpillar which actually belongs to a moth.
Caterpillar of Drinker moth - Euthrix potatoria

Other Insects
Hoverfly ?

Drone Fly - ,?

Carder Bee - Bombus pascuorum ?

Crane Fly


"Dandelion Clock"
Except I don't think it was actually a dandelion.