Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Uncommon moths at The Lodge

These two turned up on the walls at The Lodge, RSPB Sandy, on 26th September. The Convolvulus Hawk-moth is the 39th record for the county and the first to be found at this site.

The Large Thorn is a species that is nationally scarce and seems to be declining. It has been found at this site on a few occasions but not since 2005.

Convolvulus Hawk-moth by Andy Banthorpe

Large Thorn by Andy Banthorpe

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Great Barford - 21st September

A Brown Hawker (Aeshna grandis) was ovipositing in a dead plant stem near the edge of the Great Ouse. She was repeatedly disturbed by passing boats but always returned after a few minutes, allowing me a chance to move the stem a bit nearer shore during each disturbance, and thus take this picture without getting wet!

Picture by Keith Balmer

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Southern Hawker MVCP

This fairly obliging Southern Hawker was in the Sensory Garden near the Visitors Centre. Photos by Martin Green.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Silver-Y Moth and Ruddy Darter MVCP

A day-flying moth (Silver-Y Moth) feeding in the Sensory Garden near the Visitors Centre.
This male Ruddy Darter was one of the many Darters near the MVCP Visitors Centre. Photos by Martin Green.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Oak Hugging

I know Cooper's Hill is loved for its heathland habitat, but the Oaks are always worth a good peer at. All the following were observed today (14/09/08) on the sunny side of a single Oak...

Nut Weevils (Curculio sp.?) were queuing up to drill in this acorn, presumably to oviposit:

A hoverfly (possibly Didea fasciata) was ovipositing near aphids, presumably food for its young, running the gauntlet of the ants defending them. (Sorry it's not a great picture - the wind was moving things around alot).

An impressive-looking member of the Parasitica here resting briefly for a clean:

A larva (sawfly perhaps?) making a very distinctive-looking shelter by sewing an oak leaf in half along its mid vein:

And plenty of galls, tentatively identified as caused by the following Hymenoptera:

Neurotenus quercusbaccarum (Common spangle gall):

Andricus grossulariae:

Andricus quercuscalicis (Knopper gall):

Neuroterus albipes (Smooth spangle gall):

This one has me stumped. It doesn't seem quite right for Andricus lignicola (Cola-nut gall). Any suggestions please?

Photos by Keith Balmer

Sturmia bella

This Sturmia bella (ID confirmed on Diptera.info - thanks to Chris Raper) emerged on 13/09/08 from one of the parasitoid pupae that formed from the Small Tortoiseshell pupae. (See August 30th below). In the end 54 parasitoids emerged from 29 of the 30 Small Tortoiseshell. Only one butterfly emerged from the 30 caterpillars collected. 52 of the parasitoid pupae were sent to Oxford University for their research ten days ago. This fly emerged from one of the two pupae retained.

Photo by Keith Balmer