24 July 2010

Trench Wood

Flies but they don't Hover.

Conops quadrifasciata
First I thought it was a hoverfly, possibly of the crysotoxum family because of the long antennae .But I couldn't find it in any of the books. Then I thought it must be a wasp but couldn't find it and realised that it must be a fly because of just 2 wings (Diptera) and eventually tracked it down as a conopid fly

Tachina fera
This chap is a real beauty! and BIG. Click on the picture for larger view. thought it was some kind of Horsefly and as there were a lot of these about I was a bit wary of being bitten. However they are pretty harmless unless you are a caterpillar. The young larvae are internal parasites of caterpillars boring inside them.

Forest Shieldbug - Pentatoma rufipes
Easily identified as it has very "square shoulders" compared to most other shieldbugs.

Purple Hairstreak - Neozephyrus quercus
You will have to take my word on the "Purple" as he just did not want to show his upper wings which apparently are indeed purple.

Wasp sp
Not sure if it was a common wasp or not but strinkingly marked and nicely contrasted against the "thistle"

Hoverfly - Dasysyrphus albostriatus
There was a muti headed thistle which was teeming with hoverflies. There were 20 or 30 Marmalade Flies - Episyrphus balteatus and this one who stood out from the crowd.

Marmalade Fly - Episyrphus balteatus
And here are just a few of the Marmalade Flies. They really are abundant everywhere you go at the moment whether that is the garden or out in the wild.


A few from the garden..

Comma - Polygonia c-album
The greenhouse is very popular with butterflies, moths and hoverflies they often spend the night. This one id just checking the weather outside before deciding whether to venture back out.

Moth - Pyrausta purpuralis
An attractive  day flying moth.

Large White - Pieris brassicae

There is an ongoing battle at the moment with these "Cabbage Whites". We have cabbages and cauliflowers growing under netting and these keep getting inside somehow. If you have ever grown
 any brassicas you will know how quickly the catterpillars can strip and destroy the plants and we have nevr really succeeded with cabbage or sprouts and the netting is an innovation for this year and seems to be working well so far but there is still afew weeks until they are ready to pick and the butterflie could yet win.
Froghopper - Philaenus spumarius
You don't normally see these unless they are covered in "Cuckoo spit" as these are the creatures who produce the Cuckoo spit for protection. They almost look prehistoric.

Hoverfly - Eupeodes luniger
On a Cosmos flower head


Jurassic Coast
Spent a few days in Dorset, staying in Bournemouth, and visited the stunning Jurassic Coastline in glorious summer sunshine.

Studland, Isle of Purbeck
At the far east of the Isle of Purbeck lies Handfast Point and the chalk Sea-Stack known as Old Harry.
The Isle of Purbeck is not actually and island but it is picturesque peninsula at the edge of Poole Harbour containing Swanage, Corfe Castle and Studland.

Old Harry and Studland Bay

Lulworth Cove
Further along the coast you come to Lulworth Cove and a little further round the headland the iconic and  much photographed sea-arch Durdle Door. It is a steep walk to get there (and back) but well worth it.
Durdle Door

Cinnabar Moth Caterpillars
These seemed to be ever present when I was a kid (1970s!) and I have been keeping my eyes open for them whenever I see ragwort but these were the first (,and so far, only) this year. Found on the chalk cliffs near Old Harry.

Dark Bush Cricket
I'm sticking my neck out with the ID of this one. Well it's definitely a Bush Cricket and it's dark so I stand some chance of being right!

Rose Chafer - Cetonia aurata
An impressive large green beetle. I had seen a few of these on the walk to Durdle Door but they were on plants over a fence and I couldn't get close for a photo. Then when we got back to the car I found this one hitching a ride on my friends back.. The white "scratches" on it's back are not damage but just characteristics of its markings.

14 July 2010

At Home (Sambourne)

Moth Trap...
OK, so I haven't got a moth trap (yet?) but that doesn't stop the house acting a s giant Moth Trap. With the warmer weather with us and the doors and windows being left open Moths are attracted to the house lights at dusk and trapped when the house is closed up for the night. Here are a couple of interesting micro moths.
Plume Moth - Platyptilia ochrodactyla
Demonstrates one of the more unusual of the varied moth shapes
Small Magpie - Eurrhypara hortulata
One I've not seen before, but there are about 2500 different moths in the UK as opposed to about 60 butterflies!

Hoverflies in the Garden
A couple of smaller hoverflies which benefit from photographic enlargement to help identify them, well particularly with my eyesight!
Hoverfly - Syritta pipiens
I could never have identified this with the naked eye and certainly wouldn't have noticed its distinctive thick thighs on it's rear legs

Marmalade Fly - Episyrphus balteatus

Marmalade Fly - Episyrphus balteatus

This is another small hoverfly but a bit more distinctive and quite easy to ID with the naked eye

12 July 2010

Trench Wood

My first visit to Trench Wood Reserve. It is managed for birds and Butterflies and there were certainly a lot of butterflies. Most numerous would undoubtedly be Ringlet but also seen were Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Peacock, Silver Washed Fritillary, White Admiral and Comma amongst others.

Trench Wood Nature Reserve

Horse Fly - Tabanus sp
This horse Fly landed on my windscreen as soon as I parked. It would have been rude not to take a picture.

White Admiral - Limenitis camilla
Finally manged to get a picture of one of these

Not entirely sure which wasp this was but not the common one I don't think. My guess is that it is a Tree Wasp - Dolichovespula sylvestris

Just a bit different than the normal shot from above
Mirid Bug - (Deraeocoris ruber ?)
Seeing more of these at the moment of different varieties but finding it tricky to pin the ID down to actual species

Bush Cricket (female)
Like the Mirid Bugs I've not yet got to grips with species ID with these. It is a female though as it has an ovipositor (scimitar shaped bit at the back where eggs are produced) which males do not have.

Windmill Hill

Manged by Worcestershire Wildlife Trust, Windmill Hill Reserve is a limestone grassland escarpment which is good for Butterflies and wildflowers. when I visited it was a nice sunny July day but quite windy. There were still a lot of Butterflies about but photographing them was quite tricky in the wind

Windmill Hill Nature Reserve

Windmill Hill Nature Reserve - entrance

Field Scabious
I haveScabious growing in pots on my Patio and it is very popular with Butterflies and other insects. It is just as popular in its wild form.

Common Centaury (?)

Gatekeeper - Pyronia tithonus

Gatekeeper - Pyronia tithonus
Very similar to the Meadow Brown butterfly at first glance. Gatekeeper has two white dots in the "eyes" on the wings compared to the Meadow Brown's one dot. And Gatekeeper also has much more Orange in its wings.

Marbled White - Melanargia galathea
A lot of these in the reserve

Six-spot Burnet - Zygaena filipendulae

Thick Legged Flower Beetle - Oedemera nobilis (female)
 Just to prove that the Scabious is popular with other insects as well. The "Thick Legged" refers to the enlarged thighs of the male so this female is not really living up to the name.

4 July 2010

Grafton Wood

First visit to Grafton Wood since early May and it was a bright sunny day with some cloud and a bit breezy. By the time I had crossed the fields and got to the wood I knew why Butterfly Conservation help run the reserve. Butterflies were in abundance and this was also the case within the reserve. Ringlets were EVERYWHERE and other species seen were Marbled White, Small White, White Admiral, Large Skipper (also numerous), Meadow Brown and a large Fritillaries which I was unable to get good enough views to identify.

Five-spot Burnet - Zygaena trifolii

Ringlet -  Aphanttopus hyperantus
Most commonly seen with closed wings so it was nice to get some pictures with the wings open

Peacock - Inachio io (caterpillar)
I was wondering when the summer hatchings of Peacocks would be on the wing and clearly they are getting there slowly!

Crickets and Grasshoppers

Loads of grasshoppers and crickets in the meadows approaching the wood.

Bush Cricket
The easiest way to tell the crickets from the grasshoppers is by the antenna. The bush crickets have long and slender ones whist the grasshoppers are shorter and thicker. As far as telling which species, however, I'm still working on that!

Looks like he's been using army camouflage paint!



Hoverfly - Chrysotoxum bicinctum
Very pleased to come across this distinctive Hoverfly. An easy one to identify by its markings but also by its unusually long antennae.Compare with other hoverflies

Hoverfly - Episyrphus balteatus
aka the Marmalade Fly
Caught in flight, just about to land.

Hoverfly - Episyrphus balteatus
aka the Marmalade Fly

Hoverfly -  Meligramma trianguliferum

How to get close to a dragonfly

They whizz past you at such a rate that it is nigh on impossible to grab a picture in-flight but they do have favourite perches so look where they land. As you try to get near them they will usually fly off before you are close enough, but chances are that they will come back to the same perch. So whilst they are darting madly round the pool get close to the perch and settle down and wait. If you are in luck they will come back to the perch and you will be close enough to get a reasonable shot. That is what I did for this shoot with a 100mm lens. Exif details tell me I was 1.56m from subject.

Broad Bodied Chaser - Libellula depressa (Male)
abdomens are only blue in mature males. Females are brown.

Longhorn Beetle - Strangalia maculata