Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Painted Lady Pupa - 2

Reconfiguration nearly complete...

Will probably fly tomorrow, 29 days after egg laid.

(p.s. It did. Was ready to go by 7am - released into the warm morning sunshine)

Photo by Keith Balmer

White-letter Day

Here is one of the 19 or so Hairstreaks noted in Northill today, five on a roadside hedge, and this one, with the rest, in Home Wood.

Photo by Keith Balmer
This post was just transferred from the Bird blog, so 'yesterday afternoon' refers to Monday 22nd June. Mind you, the 29th was practically a repeat...

Spent late yesterday afternoon in Marston Thrift after being lured there by a brief burst of sun. By the time I got there, cloudy conditions hasd resumed and there were no Black Hairstreaks or White Admirals to be seen. One probable Hairstreak flying up into an Oak from a small clearing along the main ride was almost certainly a Purple, though I didn't get bins on it.

A couple of Azure Damselflies provided food for thought. One showed broken antehumeral stripes suggesting Variable; probably the same individual was seen twice, lost the first time as it flew with several other blue damsels, but then photographed about 30 minutes later:
The antehumerals are right for Variable, but the black U mark at the base of the abdomen and cup mark at the tip clearly make it an Azure...

... but the cup mark can sometimes be severely reduced on Azure, as this individual shows:

Also got a nice Large Skipper:... which turned out to be almost a mirror image of my previous best Large Skip shot, in an identical pose on the same leaf (Bramble?) but facing left.

...and a female Meadow Brown. These always seem to look out-of-focus - I think they just have a blurry wing pattern. The previous weekend I spent a Sunday of reasonable weather checking Wilstead Wood for (non-present and probably long locally extinct) Wood White, and Tiddenfoot for (again absent) Downy Emerald, but got a pair of Common Blue Damsels in cop:


Ladybird buffs (I am not one) - we found this (what I assume to be a) ladybird on our kitchen door this morning. Having heard about the Harlequin invasion, I captured it and photographed it very badly, just in case it might be a sighting worth reporting. A quick internet check suggested it was probably an Orange, a native species which in my limited experience I have never seen before. Before I release it can anyone confirm? Any comments welcome.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Another Hornet Moth

Following Richard Bashford's record of this species yesterday here is an image of the specimen that I attracted to a pheromone lure today at Stanford Wood ((TL159408) .

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Hornet Moth, Eaton Ford

A most welcome bit of garden wildlife.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Mystery mammal

There has been a lot of messaging on the Bedsbirds website over the past few days about polecats. The photos below are ones which I took on the Gypsy Lane (West) part of the Broom Gravel Pits complex last August. I could not identify the deal mammal. I am not familiar with polecats. Could this be the remains of one? It has been suggested that it was a mink. Any comments welcome.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Dragons and damsels at The Lodge

Small Red-eyed Damselfly
Small Red-eyed Damselfly, my first of the year

Broad-bodied Chaser
Female Broad-bodied Chaser

Female Emperor laying eggs

Four-spotted Chaser
Four-spotted Chaser

Large Twin-spot Carpet

I found this Large Twin-spot Carpet in my Wilden porch yesterday evening.

Painted Lady Pupa

The Painted Lady whose egg was laid on 2nd June and blogged HERE has advanced apace and today pupated, just 21 days later:

Here was the intervening larval stage, snapped while briefly having a wander outside its silken tent:

Photos by Keith Balmer

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Figwort Sawfly

When this insect crawled over vegetation in my garden next to a clearwing pheromone lure I wrongly assumed I had attracted a moth, but despite similar size and markings this is in fact a sawfly wasp. I think it's the Figwort Sawfly, Tenthredo scrophulariae, whose larvae feed on mulleins and figworts, although the adults are predators. The pheromone lure had nothing to do with its presence.

Peacocks to come!

Follow up, after noticing a single peacock butterfly on nettles at least 5 weeks ago. From a 15m stretch of nettles, there are a lot of prospective butterflies to come. Lack of predators not surprising!

Saturday, 20 June 2009


This Fox was carrying something interesting at Marston Vale CP on Saturday. I couldn't decide what it was though - Mink, Polecat? Any thoughts? 20th June 2009 by Steve Blain.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Brindled White-spot

This is the second Brindled White-spot to appear on The Lodge walls recently and a few have been taken in a trap as well.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Rufous Minor, Oligia versicolor

The three Oligias (strigilis, versicolor and latruncula) are a close triplet of moth species that can only reliably be separated by dissection. Most garden traps will yield a spread of colour forms of strigilis (Marbled Minor) and latruncula (Tawny Marbled Minor) but versicolor (Rufous Minor) occurs rarely in gardens in Bedfordshire. However, it does seem to crop up when trapping in good woodland as here with a male specimen from Maulden Wood on 16th June 2009. Gendet and photo by Andy Banthorpe.

Clouded Brindle

This appears to be a dark form of Clouded Brindle, taken on Sat 13th at Wilden. It's a lot darker to the naked eye, with the dark brown areas almost black.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Clearwings in Clifton

Three Clearwing Moth species attracted to pheromone lures in two days

Red Belted (Synanthedon myopaeformis) from my garden 15.06.09

Orange-tailed (Synanthedon andrenaeformis) also from my garden 15.06.09

Red tipped (Synanthedon formicaeformis) from beside River Ivel Navigation, Clifton

Bumbles at the Lodge

Nice selection of Bumblebees at the lodge the other day
Bombus pratorum sharing a flower with a longhorn (Rutpela maculata)
Several B.hypnorum workers out on bramble flowers

and what I'm pretty sure is a B.sylvestris male, a cuckoo of B.pratorum

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Obscure Wainscot, Mythimna obsoleta, new to Bedfordshire

The photo below is of an Obscure Wainscot, Mythimna obsoleta, taken at light at Chalton STW on 13th June 2009 by Graham Buss. This is the first record for Bedfordshire, VC30, and not an expected species either. Photo by Graham Buss.

Orange-tailed and Yellow-legged Clearwings

Most of the clearwing moths can be attracted using pheromone lures specific to the species. We used lures today to attract Orange-tailed Clearwing in Marston Vale CP and Yellow-legged Clearwing in Maulden Wood. Andy & Melissa Banthorpe

Orange-tailed Clearwing by Melissa Banthorpe

Yellow-legged Clearwing by Andy Banthorpe

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Mitey Burying Beetle

I found this burying beetle on one of the rides in Potton Wood. It has a particularly heavy load of phoretic mites, which it helps to transport between the dead carcasses that the adult beetle lays its eggs on. It has been suggeted that the mites aid the beetle larvae survive by eating fly eggs and generally cleaning up the corpses so that the beetle larvae survive better. As far as I can tell from the orange markings beneath the mites and black antennae this beetle is probably Nicophorus vespilloides.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Red-necked Footman

This well-named red-necked Footman crawled out of the undergrowth in Potton Wood during a rainstorm today. Not recorded in the county since 1820, this is almost certainly a recent immigrant.
As promised, some photos from May, delayed by previous PC problems. All 800 x 600, so double-clicking will enlarge.

Grizzled and Dingy Skippers at Stewartby, the latter in proper ‘butterfly pose’:
A fresh male (rather than female – slenderer abdomen and no black on wingtips) Scarce Chaser at Wyboston:
…and a Holly Blue also there:
Green Hairstreak and Duke of Burgundy from Bison Hill:
…this one unfortunately hiding its feet and antennae tips.

Duke of Burgundy underwing:
…and a couple of upperwings:
Some Large Red Damselflies (from Stewartby and Felmersham), a male:
…a normal female:
…and a rufescens female:
A couple of Azure Damselflies (also Stewartby and/or Felmersham):
Orange Tip underwing and upperwing, also at Felmersham:
… and finally a teneral Broad-bodied Chaser, again at Felmersham: