Friday, 9 November 2007


Different bird, but I couldn't resist the setting!

Stonechat - Wood Lane

Repeat from last year??

Juvenile GSW June 2007

Exercise in handheld X10 zoom at ISO1600

Garden Reptile July 2007

One of several sightings

Harlequins looking for warmth

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Stabbing on Maulden Heath

There were three of these 6cm long wasps, which I presume to be some type of Ichneumon, working over a pile of conifer logs on Maulden Heath on Sunday afternoon (4th Nov 07). Once a larva was detected within the timber they would raise their abdomen, unsheath the ovipositor (occuring in this picture) and push it into the victim. Two were contending over one location so there clearly must have been something beneath the surface there, obvious to them with their antennae, but not to me with my eyes.

Picture by Keith Balmer

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Vapourer moth male (Orgyia antiqua) at The Lodge 11/10/07.
Mallow moth (Larentia clavaria) at The Lodge 8/10/07.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Elephant Hawk Moth

This beast found by John Pope on 26th September. John asks is this is particularly late to find one?

Friday, 14 September 2007

Rainham Water Vole

A Water Vols shot from the Bird Club outing to Rainham Marshes, Essex. September 2007 by Geoff Pickerell.

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Emperor in flight

Male Emperor cleaning in flight

Watched a male Emperor flying around the new pool by Marston Thrift carpark yesterday. Whilst in flight it was cleaning its legs by rubbing them together. Photos by Steve Cham

Saturday, 25 August 2007

One leg short of a grasshopper...

but that didn't stop this Mottled Grasshopper from ovipositing on Cooper's Hill on 25th August...

Photo by Keith Balmer

Old Warden Ladies

The highlight of this week's butterfly transect at Old Warden Tunnel was three perfect Painted Ladies, which more than doubled my tally for the year...

Pictures by Keith Balmer.

Monday, 13 August 2007

Wood Mouse

I found this Wood Mouse scuttling along the edge of a freshly cut field. I guess he'd just lost his home. Broom, 13th August 2007 by Steve Blain.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Tree-lichen Beauty - A new macro moth for Bedfordshire 11th August 2007

At our National Moth Night event at Barton Hills NR on 11th August 2007 we trapped this Tree-lichen Beauty, Cryphia algae. It is the first record for Bedfordshire, VC30Photo by Andy Banthorpe

Saturday, 11 August 2007

National Moth Day/Night 11th August 2007

One of the target species for this years National Moth Day/Night is Chalk Carpet so four of us went looking for it this morning at Totternhoe Quarry. We were successful!
Another species we looked for using a pheromone lure this time was Six-belted Clearwing
Photos by Andy Banthorpe

Friday, 10 August 2007

Vapourer female, mating with male and eggs, Lower Stondon 10th August 2007

Melissa and I have been breeding through a Vapourer larva that we collected from a house in Clophill a few weeks back. It emerged yesterday as a female so we decided to try assembling males to it as they are attracted in daytime to the pheromone that she gives off.

The first photo is of the female and you will see that she is full of eggs and has only residual wings. Her sole duty is to climb onto the top of her pupal case, mate and lay her eggs. The female was put in an assembling cage in the garden at 11am and by 11.10am a male had arrived. He was disturbed as I opened the cage for him but returned a few minutes later, found the female and commenced mating. by 11.25am another two males were fluttering round the outside of the cage.
By 13.30 she had started to lay eggs with the male in close attendance.
You can see some of the eggs here.
All photos by Andy Banthorpe

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Just going to post some retrospective stuff, all from Chicksands Wood, going back to 29th July, which will be dated under the original dates, which are:

29th July 2007: White Admiral, Green-veined White
3rd August 2007: Purple Hairstreak, Brimstone, Essex Skipper
5th August 2007: White-letter Hairstreak

Monday, 6 August 2007

Garden moths in Lower Stondon 5th August 2007

The following were most definitely surprise additions to our garden moth list. both were trapped overnight.

The first is a female Oak Eggar which was in the trap by 10.30pm. Photo by Melissa Banthorpe
She laid 7 eggs which are c2mm across and are in the next photo. Photo by Andy Banthorpe

The second addition was a Webb's Wainscot. This is the 7th Bedfordshire record and the 6th for the vice-county (VC30). Photo by Andy Banthorpe

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Two shots of a White-letter Hairstreak at Chicksands Wood, 5/8/07

Saturday, 4 August 2007

MVCP Odonata 30th July - 1st August

Southern Hawker, Brown Hawker and Banded Demoiselle at MVCP over the last few days, photos by Martin Green.
PS. Thanks to Martin Palmer for confirming the ID of the Southern Hawker.. :-)

MVCP Muntjac 28th July 2007

This Muntjac was walking along the path between the MVCP Pillinge and Wetland 3, photo by Martin Green.

Stewartby Lake Moonrise 29th July 2007

A couple of photos of the moon rising above Stewartby Lake, by Martin Green.

Friday, 3 August 2007

This sequence of Purple Hairstreak at Chicksands Wood, 3/8/07, are all more or less blurred but possibly interesting as they unusually show the purple upperside and also interesting behaviour in frames 3-6 where the insect is fanning its wings extremely quickly - too quick to freeze. In the last image it has just started flying off, but it makes quite a nice abstract.

Brimstone, Chicksands Wood 3/8/07
Chicksands Wood 3/8/07 Martin Palmer ID'ed this as an Essex Skipper, and I'm inclined to agree, as the undersides of the antennae are mostly blackish, though with a little orange at the tips, which I always find confusing.

Sunday, 29 July 2007

These two rather tatty White Admirals at Chicksands were taken a few metres apart, but (looking at the wear) were probably of the same individual, rather unusually feeding on flowers.
Green-veined White, Chicksands Wood, 29/7/07

A few hours at Chicksands

A Crab Spider

Large Skipper

Rutpela maculata - a longhorn beetle

Saturday, 28 July 2007

Cooper's Hill Hymenoptera

Here are a selection of pictures of Hymenoptera seen on the reserve in a couple of recent afternoons. (I think the IDs are correct - please let me know if you think any are incorrect).

An Ammophila sabulosa preparing to drag her catch into the nest. Once the nest is fully provisioned she will lay an egg and seal the hole.

A Philanthus triangulum, known as the Bee Wolf, carrying a honey bee worker to her nest. The burrow leads to several cells which are provisioned with bees.

Cerceris rybyensis. Her nest will be provisioned with beetles, mostly weevils, or other solitary wasps.

A ruby-tailed wasp, Hedychrum niemelai. (This species has RDB status). Ruby-tailed wasps, also known as cuckoo wasps are cleptoparisites or parasitoids on other solitary wasps, in this case various species of Cerceris, such as C.rybyensis above. They will enter their burrows and lay an egg in each available cell.

Dasypoda hirtipes the hairy-legged mining bee. There is a large aggregation of these delightful bees in the SW corner of the reserve. Watch them "row" backwards pushing excavated material onto the spoil heap before running back down the mine for more!

All pictures by Keith Balmer.