Saturday, 31 May 2014

First Leafcutters of the Year

I get the feeling that these Leafcutter Bees are a little earlier than last year here in a dull Nottinghamshire. I heard a bit of nibbling inside the hole a few days ago so kept an eye on when they might take flight.  Well the morning of the 31st May was maiden flight day.  Three bees left the same hole within the space of about 20 minutes.  What surprised me was the fact that the day doesn't seem that great, no sunshine when they took to flight, but reasonably warm.  Here's a couple of pics of them surveying the world prior to flight.

LEafcutter Bee, Carlton Nottinghamshire, 31st May 2014 - It's first look at the outside world. 

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Rain what Rain! Silver Wedding Anniversary in the Lakes, Colourful Beetles and Butterflies.

Sitting in the Old Volunteer, Carlton, Sunday afternoon with the wife and decision time, whether to go east to Norfolk, south to Dorset or north west to the lakes for a couple of days to celebrate 25 years of marriage.  Luckily we chose the lakes and two beautiful days weather unlike most of the south and east of the country. Two good days walking, a pub always somewhere on the walk and a few choice insects and birds aplenty, Pied flycatcher, Redstart and a Goosander with nine chicks.  Highlight on the insect front, Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary, pretty common in the lakes if you know where to look.  The one photographed was just outside Elterwater, but the walk from Ambleside to Grasmere usually throws a few up.

Small Pearl Bordered Fritillay Nr. Elterwater Cumbria 27th May 2014
Underside View Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary, Near Elterwater 27th May 2014 
A walk around Loughrigg Tarn and a search for the most brilliantly coloured of British Beetles Plateumaris discolor, its mainstream colour is a nice bronze, but bright green, red, and purple specimens exist.  On this occasion no red were seen but I hope you like the green and purple examples.  They love feeding on Marsh marigold and Yellow Iris pollen.  Real stunners on a fantastic backdrop, only problem with photographing them is where they live, on marshy ground and invariably just out of reach.  

Plateumaris discolor green form, 27th May 2014 Loughrigg Tarn Cumbria. 
Plateumaris discolor A beautiful Blue/Violet form, Loughrigg Cumbria 27th May 2014 
Forma typica, a nice bronze example, Loughrigg Cumbria 27th May 2014. 
Finally, thanks Tina, my long suffering wife for putting up with me for the last 28 years (only 25 married) for my over the top love of insects and all the hours I spend looking at, collecting, pinning, gluing and photographing them. 

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

More beauties from Gedling Pit Top

Broad Bodied Chaser, Gedling Pit Top 18th May 2014 

"Improvement" ongoing up on Gedling pit top in anticipation of it opening as a country park "AKA dogs toilet", hence another trip up to record the invertebrate fauna present before wholescale change.  Highlights included good number of the Broad Bodied Chasers, more females than males and pristine Brown Argus. In my opinion the site is ripe to be managed as a butterfly reserve, with Dingy Skipper, Common Blue and Brown Argus all on the wing this week together with Small Heath.  Non of them all that rare but nice to see them in good numbers in a habitat that could be maintained if the relevant authorities notably Gedling Borough Council were willing.

Brown Argus - Gedling Colliery 19th May 2014 

Nice large spider, the common Trochosa terricola 

Broad Bodied Chaser Gedling Pit Top 18th May 2014

Monday, 5 May 2014

Bang on the Window

I've spent the day looking through a pot of beetles putting a name to them and gluing them on bits of card.  I find that this satisfies the OCD urges within me.  Whilst doing this I heard a thump on the back window,  having heard this sound before I knew that a bird had flown into it.  It's usually a wood pigeon leaving an angel like farina dusting on the pane.  This time no wood pigeon but a knocked out Greenfinch.  I nursed it in my hand for about 5 minutes,  then placed it on a perch where it sat first one legged and then two legged for about 10 minutes.  After this a short flight onto next doors trellis, followed by a more substantial flight several minutes later. Hopefully it will recover.  Gave me a chance to get up close though. 


Sunday, 4 May 2014

Dingy Skipper a Couple of Miles from Nottingham City Centre.

It's been a long time since I've added a new butterfly to my Nottinghamshire list, that is until yesterday and again today when I spent time helping my son and a colleague of his do their first ecological survey of the old Gedling Colliery slag heap before it becomes the boroughs newest country park.  Usual stuff,  bit of sweeping, bit of beating and a bit of grubbing put a good few beetles and bugs on the list, but the highlight was Dingy Skipper.   I'm aware that they frequent another pit top, in the north of the county in Warsop but these are the first I have seen near to Nottingham. They must be a reasonably recent arrival as I have been walking on the site for since a young lad back in the early 1980's.  Stunning little butterfly, to say a little brown job would not do it justice, and to call it Dingy.  Perhaps the word has another meaning I am unaware of. 

Dingy skipper Gedling Colliery spoil heap 4th May 2014.