Saturday, 30 May 2015

A different Bee Fly in Lincolnshire, I'd help required

I'm quite familiar with Bombylius major, the common bee-fly of hedgerows and gardens, however on a recent trip to Chambers Farm Wood, one of lincolnshires Lime Woods I photographed a rather small Be-fly for later identification.  2 problems with the resultant photograph, one its not very sharp and 2, its wings were beating so fast I didn't stop them with a faster shutter speed, apart form that its perfect!  This bee fly was one of the small clear winged species either B. canescens or B. Minor. Stubbs and Drake (2001) British Soldierflies and their allies illustrates them all.   However B. canescens has a very westerly distribution whilst B. minor a very southerly heathland habitat.   So to cut to the chase, any help appreciated, anyone have records of any other bee-flies in Lincolnshire?  
Looks a bit like B. minor but nowhere near heathland.  

Bad year for my Bees!

Osmia leaniana - Carlton Notts 30th May 2015 
Followers of this blog are probably aware of my love of all things solitary.  I like wandering around on my own, I'm quite happy working on my own and I quite like bees on thier own.  For that reason for several years I have encouraged solitary bees to nest in the garden.  At present 3 species use the logs and boxes placed on my south facing wall, the most numerous being Osmia bocornis, the Red Mason Bee, followed by a megachild leaf cutter bee, probably M. centucularis  and the smaller congener of the mason bee Osmia leaiana.  This year my mason bees have struggled, the males got off to a good start during that warm spell in April but just as the females hatched the weather turned.  However they are pretty hardy beasts and they quickly started nesting in available holes whenever the weather permitted.  This unimpinged nesting was not to last as a nesting pair of Great Tits discovered that female mason bees are rather tasty, or at least suitable food for their chicks.  They've taken them all,   and I mean all I have several holes half sealed and only a few complete holes.  Last year approximately 150 holes were filled, this year about 20. Still it might leave a little more room for the leafcutters, the first one to hatch of the year was waitng for a bit of decent weather today as was a male O. leaiana.  Both are photographed, I hope they have more look than the others. 

Leaf cutter Bee, Carlton Notts, 30th May 2015 

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

A day in Lincolnshire, Insects Galore.

Lincolnshire, a county I usually avoid when it comes to wildlife, especially of the invertebrate kind, acres of arable aren't the best for a few decent insects.  However I discovered a jewel that several of you may already be aware of namely the Lincolnshire Lime Woods.  I've not been there before even though they are only an hour away from me here in Notts.  They're beautiful,  varied tree species, unlike my regular haunt of Sherwood, good ground flora and the purpose of our trip a reintroduced colony of Marsh Fritillary, Photographs show that we found the fritillaries, absolute stunners and looking reasonably happy as I encountered at least 3 mating pairs. Also noted were several Dingy skipper and Common Blue.  Also noted a nice full grown Glow worm larva on the path. Not often you see these before dark.  

Glow worm larva (Lampyris noctiluca) Chambers Farm Wood Lincs' 26th May 2015. 
Marsh Fritillary, Chambers Farm Wood Lincolnshire 26th May 2015 
Ragged Robin - Chambers Farm Wood 26th May 2015

Dingy Skipper in Small Skipper like pose - For some reason this one didn't want to spread its wings. 
Marsh Fritillary Lincolnshire 26th May 2015 
Mating pair of Marsh Fritillary, Lincs' 26th May

A trip to the coast followed a little dull by now but a walk from Sutton On Sea to Huttoft bank although a little too many people for me did yield the beautiful and large weevil Cleonus pigra, and the equally beautiful Marram grass weevil Philopedon plagiatum    The former beast likes thistles and is reasonably common along the Lincolnshire and North Norfolk coastline, whilst as the name suggests the latter pictured weevil is associated with Marram grass .  

Cleonus pigra, taking in the sea air Sandilands Lincs' 26 May 2015  (Size 13mm)
Philopedon plagiatum - lincolnshire (size approx 5mm)
Chips and Peas in "sunny" Mablethorpe and early evening at Theddlethorpe NNR where the sun did shhine.  Another beautiful spot with good numbers of Common blue, Wall and Small Heath. Strange how you can get excited by a Wall butterfly,   Haven't seen one for several years in Notts. However highlight was not a butterfly but fantastic views of a hunting Hobby.  Photograph of it perched on a bush shown,  taken with my trusty macro lens. 

Small Heath - Theddlethorpe 26th May 2015 

Can you see it - Hobby in the Hawthorn bush. 
Who said Lincolnshires boring - I did,  but I'll have to retract what I said after a thoroughly enjoyable and surprising day. 

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Grizzled Skipper and Brown Argus Nottinghamshire

Brown Argus Cotham Notts 16/05/2015

The Grizzled Skipper is an uncommon butterfly in Nottinghamshire, now confined to one or two stretches of disused railway line in and around Bingham and up towards Newark.  These specimens though a little past their best were photographed at Cotham near Newark. Several species of butterfly on the wing yesterday (16/05/2015) with good numbers of Brown Argus and my first Painted Lady of the year which was heading with some gusto into a rather stiff northwesterly. As to the Brown Argus, when I was a boy in the 1970's these were nowhere to be seen in my area of Nottinghamshire.  This is now no longer the case and they are on some occasions a little commoner than its close relative the Common Blue.    

Grizzled Skipper Cotham Notts, 16th May 2015

Grizzled Skipper, Cotham Notts, 16th May 2015 

Grizzled Skipper, 16th May2015 Cotham Nottinghamshire 

Brown Argus, Cotham Notts 16/05.2015 


Sunday, 10 May 2015

Scentless Plant Bug Corizus hyoscyami

Corizus hyoscyami - Carlton 10th May 2015 
This attractive looking plant bug was unknown in Nottinghamshire until 2011 when I discovered them at Radcliffe on Trent, since then they have been found at Southwell and Attenborough Nature Reserve.   Its now present in my Carlton garden where two examples are happy moving amongst my red campion.   I'm not as yet sure as to the foodplant of this species, internet searches proved fruitless and I believe that at present it is not known.  Hopefully its red campion,  I'll then have them for a few more years. Its original U.K. distribution was the south coast of the UK, however it now appears to be spreading and is found in many inland counties.  Global warming?

Monday, 4 May 2015

Green Winged Orchids

A few snaps of Green Winged Orchids, Anacamptis morio, at Muston meadows national nature reserve.  They are in good nick at the moment and should be for the next week or two as several are yet to open.  Really worth taking a look, but watch where you step.  Also include a photograph of a very obliging Orange Tip that settled in the garden on my Red Campion. I have plenty of these in flower at present, all the result of a few seeds I collected several years ago, I don't have the heart to pull them up they are so nice.