Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Marston Vale Country Park in the snow...

A panorama of the ice-bound Pillinge lake, taken from the hide.
The visitors centre.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Yesterday 12 Dec 2010 my wife and son (Pattie and Thomas Outen) went to purchase a Christmas Tree from our local farm at Clifton Bury. They told me that some of the trees had galls on them. I checked thees out and identified them as caused by the Homopteran bug Adelges abietis. Sean Karley has confirmed my identification and tells me that "this species was already on the checklist for Beds, but without any localised record; it has one now!"

Sunday, 12 December 2010

MVCP - Pillinge Panoramas

A view over the MVCP Pillinge Lake from the Wetland 3 bank.
The view from the MVCP Pillinge hide.
Both of these photos were taken using my Canon S95 compact camera and stitched together using Photoshop Elements. The final images were made up from about 8 or 9 individual photos each. These are very compressed versions of the panoramas, both full-size versions are about 17,000 pixels long... Photos by Martin Green

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Ectoedemia quinquella leafmines in Oak leaf

The scans below show an Oak leaf found at The Lodge, RSPB Sandy, today. It shows the characteristic leaf mines of Ectoedemia quinquella and there are seven mines in the leaf. This species typically mines Oak leaves in November and there are often many mines in an individual leaf. Scans by Andy Banthorpe.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Norellia spinipes - Daffodil Fly

This fly species was present in some numbers in a Carex bed at Stanford Wood on 19 Nov 2010, a rather surprising habitat to find it. It was originally identified from my images by Stephane Lebrun, from Le Havre. This identification was confirmed from a specimen by Malcolm Smart, a national authority in the UK on Scathophagidae. The family includes the very common Yellow Dung Fly. By contrast the Daffodil Fly is very local in Britain with only a handful of records.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Rhododendron Leafhopper

These are out in force at the lodge at the moment.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Ectoedemia hannoverella mine in Black Poplar

The scan below is of the leaf mine of Ectoedemia hannoverella in a leaf of a black Poplar sp. This species was found new to Bedfordshire near Arlesey in November 2009 and was also found at that site in 2010. This leaf is from Chicksands Wood on 30th October 2010 and is the second site in the county for the species. Please look out for the characteristic mining pattern in the leaves of Black Poplar and report any to David Manning - with a photo for confirmation.
The adult moth lays the egg on the petiole of the leaf where it forms a gall by initial mining and then mines out into the leaf blade leaving a characteristic green island area once the rest of the leaf turns yellow. Scan by Andy Banthorpe

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Western Conifer Seed Bug

A splendid individual on the walls at The Lodge this morning

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Pale Pinion

This was a welcome surprise in the garden, found by the children today after school.

Pale Pinion- Upper Cadecote- 4th October 2010

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Hummingbird Hawkmoth

The Hummingbird Hawkmoth has an amazing ability to choose suitable coloured roosting sites. This one chose Laburnum pods in my garden today and was very difficult to spot.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Designer Fly Agaric

Amongst the many Fly Agarics at the Lodge today was this interesting 'designer' version.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Shaggy Inkcap (?) MVCP

This fungi was near the path at Stewartby Lake at beginning of the climb up to the the hilly area near the lagoon corner if you approach from the sailing club side. I'm guessing it might be a Shaggy Inkcap purely because it was shaggy and inky but I've not looked it up so I would appreciate it if anyone would let me know what it actually is... Photo by Martin Green.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Apple Mine

There were around 25 Vespula vulgaris excavating into this single apple at Mowsbury Hill LNR. Here's one making off with some pulp:

Photo by Keith Balmer

Chequers and Medlars

Two of our more unusual fruits can be seen at the moment at Mowsbury Hill LNR; Chequers on the Wild Service Tree:

and Medlars, which apparently need "bletting" before they can be used:

Photos by Keith Balmer

Thursday, 2 September 2010

A pristine Light Emerald at the Lodge today.

This Wasp Spider at the Lodge old heath today is apparently the first for the reserve, although they have been recorded at Sandy Heath quarry across the road.

Grass Snake - West Wood

This obliging Grass Snake posed between two fungi in West Wood before making a hasty retreat.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Caterpillar ID

Nearly stepped on this striking caterpillar outside the back door - any suggestions on identification please?
30-35 mm in length. Not quite right for Lime Hawk-moth?

Monday, 30 August 2010

Common Lizard - Stewartby Lake

This Common Lizard was at the Stewartby Lake gullwatch this afternoon. It's the first one I can remember seeing at the lake for many years although I know they have been seen there by other people. Photo by Martin Green.

Red-legged Shieldbug

A photogenically positioned Pentatoma rufipes dead centre of an angelica umbel at West Wood.

Photo by Keith Balmer

New to VC30 - Stigmella tiliae & Enteucha acetosae

Leafmining micro-moths added to the Bedfordshire (VC30) list in the last week were Stigmella tiliae and Enteucha acetosae.

Stigmella tiliae was found mining the leaves of a Lime tree in Lower Stondon on 23th August by Melissa Banthorpe and subsequently at Woburn Park, The Lodge RSPB Sandy and Ampthill Park by Melissa and Andy. All scans by Andy Banthorpe

Stigmella tiliae mine from Lower Stondon 23/08/10

Stigmella tiliae mine + larva from Ampthill Park 29/08/10

Enteucha acetosae was found mining the leaves of Sheep's Sorrel at Ampthill Park on 29th August by Melissa and Andy.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Schizophrenic bramble

Most leaves on these two suckers of bramble at Old Warden Tunnel are pure yellow but a couple were exactly half green. Does anyone know if this aberration has a name?

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Stewartby Lake - sunrise

There was an excellent sunrise at Stewartby Lake this morning, I haven't altered the colours on the photo. Unfortunately, I only had my long telephoto lens with me... Photo by Martin Green.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Flying Wolf

I spotted this female Philanthus triangulum, the Bee Wolf, coming towards me at Sandy Smith NR and grabbed a few shots, but only this one was vaguely in focus:

Then she turned sideways towards her burrow and I was able to grab a few as she went past:

The honey bee she was carrying was then buried as food for her young. Here the burrow is being re-opened on her return, having concealed it with sand when she left:

Photos by Keith Balmer

Hunting flies

There was an abundance of flies feeding on mint at Sandy Smith NR, making it an ideal hunting ground for Mellinus arvensis wasps. It was interesting to watch them stalk their prey. This one got away:

but this one wasn't so lucky!

Here's a sequence of stalking,
stinging to paralyse


shaking violently

and finally hugging

before eventually flying off with it to her nest.

Photos by Keith Balmer

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Small Ranunculus larvae

Below are two photos of the larvae of the macro-moth Small Ranunculus on Prickly Lettuce. The upper one was found on 14th August in Lower Stondon and the lower brown form found in Flitwick on 12th. Photos by Andy Banthorpe.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

A female Common Emerald damselfly, at the 'Wall Brown' bridge at Rookery.
A (presumably Common?) Lizard at Rookery.
...and a (again presumably Common?) Toad at College Wood
A good day for reptiles and amphibians, not so good for butterflies, though I did see, but not photograph, a Wall Brown at Rookery, and I did manage to get some pics of the final resident Bedfordshire butterfly I hadn't photographed with my digital camera. I won't reveal the species, as it's too embarrassing.