Monday, 29 July 2013

Striped millipedes, Good looking longhorn beetles, plenty of Blues and a Clearwing.

Striped Millipede - pretty common, one of the UK's largest, Home Pierrpeont Notts. 29th July 2013

I've been out and about Holme Pierrepont the last couple of days. Pretty hot if you can dodge the showers.  Plenty out and about, nothing too rare but Insects appear to be in good numbers. I've been particularly happy with butterfly numbers this year,  loads of Peacocks and plenty of freshly emerged Common Blue. I also managed to photograph one of my favourite beetles, Strangalia quadrifasciata.  This time I managed to photograph one egg laying.  They only live on one large decaying willow,  this tree has been rotting away for the best part of six or seven years but it still manages to provide enough sustenance for another years worth of beetles.  

Strangalia quadrifasciata ovipositing, Skylarks NR, Notts 29th July 2013

Six-Belted Clearwings are not a moth I find too often here in Notts, I've swept them on the old colliery spoil heap at Gedling a few years ago and I've now found them down at Holme Pierrepont. Noticed a strange wasp like insect in flight that didn't quite look right for a wasp.  This clearwing is a Batesian mimic, the harmless moth copying a harmful animal in order to offer itself some protection. It didn't fool me.   A beautiful insect non the less.  I couldn't find one posing nicely and when I eventually did, the light was all wrong so I wasn't happy with my shots.  This is where a little background fill flash would come in useful.  Anyone care to lend me £400 for the right set-up?  The last three pictures really make me realise how much I enjoy Summer. How many colours do you want from just three different insects.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

One for the connoisseur! Nicrophorus vespilloides

A walk on Budby Heath today. So much for the weather breaking, it was absolutely roasting.  Plenty of insects but not a lot to write home about. However interesting picture of the Sexton Beetle Nicrophorus vespilloides.  I noticed this chap in flight and heading in a purposeful direction.   It landed, and to my disgust I noticed that it had homed in on a nice fresh pile of Dog faeces. Still not to be deterred, camera out, held my breath and took a couple of shots. This beetle is covered in mites its a wonder it can see what its doing. Apart from the poo I think it makes quite an interesting photograph.   And yes, it is eating the faeces. 

Nicrophorus vespilloides - Budby Heath 23rd July 2013. 

I'll now put a nicer picture up to soften the blow of looking at a blog featuring dog poo.  These sawfly larvae were found on Sallow, hence the Sallow sawfly, probably Croesus septentronalis. 

Sawfly larva - Budby Heath 23rd July 2013

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Bits "n" bobs

Fantastic weather so been out and about most evenings this week. Not seen any great rarities,  a nice Stenocorus meridianus down at East Bridgford.  The woodlands along here tend to be pretty reliable for this beetle and you can see them most years if you check out the tops of Hogweed.

Also took this shot of a small Skipper,  these a re a very obliging butterfly to photograph, pose nicely and settle for more than a few seconds. 

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Sharp Tailed Bee

Major excitement in the Garden this evening.  Home from work out into the back garden to watch my Leaf Cutter Bees (Megachile willughbiella) fill a few holes in my Bee log (see earlier post for description) Quite happy watching them bring back not just leaves but also   lovely bright red petals.  Then out of the blue, a bee that I have never previously encountered, the cuckoo bee Coelioxys (not sure what species).  Known as sharp tailed bees these chaps parisitise the nests of the leaf cutter.  Indeed I watched it entering the bees nests.  That's 4 species of bees in my log this year,  Osmia bicornis, Osmia Leaniana, A megachile's species and know Coelioxys species.  Other garden highlights today, the day flying moth the Blackcurrant Clearwing. 

Coelioxys bee on my house wall  - Carlton Notts, 09 July 2013.


Sunday, 7 July 2013

Check out the Jaws. - Dune Tiger Beetle

Cicindela maritima - Norfolk 6th July 2013 

With the prospect of cloudless skies and a Saturday free from a cricket match a day trip to the north Norfolk coast insect spotting, with a few birds thrown in if they flew by.  Top of the list and almost an annual visit for me is Thornham Point, walk to the bottom of RSPB Tictchwell and then walk along the beach until you can get no further.  Here you'll find my all time favourite beetle  Cicindela maritima, "the Dune Tiger Beetle".  Fast flighty and pretty active on a hot day theses chaps are also pretty scarce, thornham being the only place where I could be pretty sure of seeing them on the east coast, until you move on down into Kent.  I have been in the past and seen dozens, however on this visit I only encountered about 4 or 5. Still managed to get a half decent shot of one for the reocrd.  Also paid a visit to Holkam NNR. not  a lot happening here, A dead rabbit with Necrodes littoralis being the highlight.  I did however see Dark Green Fritillary, photograph shown below.  An impressive strong flying butterfly and freshly emerged by the look of it.  A quick tip for anyone wanting to go to titchwell.  The tiger beetle photograph was taken at about 7.00pm,  when walking back through the reserve we had it to ourselves,  far better than the usual midday throng.

Dark Green Fritillary - Holkham NNR, 13th July 2013 

DArl Green Fritillary - Holkham NNR, 13th July 2013