Monday, 27 May 2013

Another Jumping Spider "Evarcha falcata" plus a couple of nice beetles, Oiceoptoma thoracicum and Rhagium bifasciatum

Evarcha falcata Sherwood Forest 26th May 2013
Two sunny days on the trot, whatever next!  I wanted to avoid bank holiday traffic so a quick trip to Sherwood Forest and Budby Heath seemed the best bet.  Once you're away from the Major Oak and visitor centre it's still quite quiet whatever time of year. Indeed even today we had the heath to oursleves. Heard a couple of cuckoo calling which was quite pleasing as my last visit to Sherwood was noticable by their absence.  However first creature of interest was the beautiful little jumping spider Evarcha falcata. Pretty common in open woodland and perfectly camouflaged on last years dried bracken. Also a little pain to photograph as it did not want to stay still.  However shot shown shows side profile, and posterior eyes rather then those big anterior eyes so noticeable on jumping spiders.   

Rhagium bifasciatum 26th May 2013
In my opinion one of the commonest longhorn beetles of Sherwood is the impressive Rhagium bifasciatum.  This beast is pretty common in spring wherever there is dead or dying Scots Pine.  This specimen was found by peeling a little bit of bark away from a well rotten and fallen pine on which another specimen was resting. Looks like this one was ready to emerge at any moment.   

Oiceoptoma thoracicum - Wellow wood Notts. 26th 2013

Also found the very distinctive Silphid carrion beetle Oiceoptoma thoracicum, unlikely to be confused with any other UK beetle. This was a single chap attracted to a pile of Dog faeces at Wellow wood to the east of Sherwood.  I once found about 30-40 of these beetles on a dead crow at Lathkill Dale Derbyshire (there is a picture on my flickr site of a pair copulating on the bird) and have also encountered them on stinkhorn fungus. Wellow wood is well worth a visit. I went to look at a rather large patch of Early Purple Orchid. These were nicely in flower but the site has already become a little to shady to allow for a good photograph.   

I also attach a photograph of a group of English Longhorn cattle on the Heath.  These lot were all particularly young and the middle one was doing a good bit of foot-stomping.  Now I'm not usually phased by these beasts but this group of young lads seemed to be behaving with a little more belligerence than normal.  So, I chickened out and hopped over the fence to avoid confrontation. Finally I see that BBC springwatch is back on the television, if ever a program brings out the cynic in me its got to be this one.  I'm not sure if I can take another owl eating its brother or sister or infra-red badgers doing very little apart from scratching their nether regions. Any rutting stags being filmed? Or am I confusing this with the similar fayre shown in the autumn. 

posse, gang, angry herd, these youngsters were a little too inquisitive for my liking. 

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