13 April 2011

Tiddesley Wood

An unseasonably warm spell (Low 20's C) and a few days off prompted me to do a whistle stop tour of a few of the local woods to see how nature is reacting.

Well, Spring has definitely sprung and somehow the insects and plants have got through the harshest winter in years and natures cycle continues unabated. Lots of butterflies, bees and flies on the wing and the woodland floors are covered in Primrose, Dog Violet, Wood Anemone etc to fuel the newly emerged insects with nectar.

Cuckoo Bee - Nomada sp

One of my favourites of early spring. These are small wasp-like Bees that lay their eggs in the nests of Mining Bees like a Cuckoo. The mining bee digs a nest burrow and lays eggs in individual cells into which it leaves a ball of pollen and nectar to feed the larvae when it emerges in the spring. The Cuckoo Bee saves all the hard work and follows the Mining Bee, nips into the nest burrow and lays its own egg which will then be able to feed on the food store when it emerges. Not entirely sure what happens to the Mining Bee Egg? There are several species of this Bee which are very hard to tell apart but they each specialise in a particular Mining Bee species so you see  a particular Mining Bee and you often also see its "stalker". The technical name for this practice is Cleptoparasitism!

Leaf Rolling Weevil - Apoderus coryli

Leaf Rolling Weevil - Apoderus coryli

Not seen this one before but you can hardly miss it.  Looks superficially similar to some other beetles eg Lily Beetle but it is quite unusual in that it has a distinctive "neck" to attach its strange head to its body.

Tortoise Beetle sp
These are normally bright Green so this is either an immature one or possibly an adult which has overwintered and temporarily  lost its colour, which happens in other species like the Green Shield bug. I expect to see more of these (green ones) in the coming weeks.

22-Spot Ladybird - Psyllobora 22-puncta

I haven't counted them!  Actually these are much smaller than the "normal" ladybirds and can easily be overlooked.  I would definitely be unable to count the spots with the naked eye... Should have gone to specsavers!  Unlike the usual Ladybird these do not feed on aphids but on leaf mold.

7-Spot Ladybird - Coccinella septempunctata

7-Spot Ladybird - Coccinella septempunctata

This is the common Ladybird and it seems abundant at the moment they are everywhere.  Not sure what this one is trying to do in the Teasel head, maybe there are some seeds still in there or it just looks like a safe place to sleep?

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