Sunday, 16 March 2014

Budby Heath in the Spring, Bees, and Beetles

Andrena clarkella Budby Heath 16th March 2014 
Last couple of weekends have been reasonable in terms of weather, hence a couple of early in the year trips onto Budby Heath, the only National Nature Reserve here in Nottinghamshire. One of the joys of Budby in the spring is the presence of the solitary bee Andrena clarkella. This is an insect that I often have difficulty in photographing, they have the habit of landing and quickly disappearing into its concealed burrow.  However this obliging female spent a couple of minutes sitting and warming itself on a wooden post.

Oil Beetle, Meloe proscabaeus, Budby Heath 16th March 2014
The main reason for the trip was to look for early season Oil Beetles. I'd had a report this year that they were out in the first week of March this year.  We weren't disappointed either with good numbers perambulating at their usual site and feeding on the grass. It was interesting to note that the males far outnumber the females so far this year, however a healthy number of females were on show this Sunday and already into the swing of mating (see photograph). I must admit that I have great difficulty photographing black beetles, a check on technique and methods for photographing black objects is needed here I think. Finally the Tiger Beetles were also out, though as yet in very small numbers. Still another lovely site this time of the year.   I've had Tiger beetle on the heath every month from March to October. 
Tiger Beetle, Cicindela campestris, Budby Heath 16th March 2014

 

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