Monday, 29 March 2010

Chilly bees

They're no two-barred crossbill, but the Andrena clarkella nesting aggregation finally came to life last week. The females were pretty active but the cold air and lack of sunshine left the males thermically stranded and probably wondering why they'd bothered coming out of their burrows.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Lead-coloured Drab vs Clouded Drab

These two photos show males of both Lead-coloured Drab and Clouded Drab trapped in Chicksands Wood overnight 21/22 March 2010. On these you can clearly see the partially feathered (bipectinated) antennae of the male Lead-coloured Drab. The females of both species have toothed (bidentate) antennae like the male Clouded Drab. Photos by Melissa Banthorpe.

Lead-coloured Drab

Clouded Drab

Mini mushers

I thought these two were quite sweet.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Spring at last

A fantastic afternoon this Sunday at The Lodge - bees everywhere and a smattering of butterflies. At least 6 species of bumblebees out and about (lucorum, terrestris, lapidarius, pratorum, hypnorum and one type of cuckoo). A small tortoiseshell and red admiral were a welcome sight too.

Flying Spiders

The great thing about wildlife is not knowing what is going to catch the eye each time I go out. Today it was these little spiders on fencing at Strawberry Hill.

It was only when one "flew away" that I realised what many of them were up to. They climbed to the top of the fence posts, stood on tip-toe, raised their abdomen into the air:

and sprayed a loose bundle of silk (gossamer) into the light breeze:

then, when the tension was sufficient, launched backwards into the air. With limited depth of field and the rapid departure, unfortunately the only launch I managed to capture was out-of-focus. (Maybe next time?)

These two weren't interested in flying though:

Once finished, they tapped each other on the back with their forelegs and rapidly backed apart.

Photos by Keith Balmer

Friday, 19 March 2010

The Kiss

A tender moment during the orgy at Tom's Pond on Thursday 18th March. Neither turned into a prince...

Photo by Keith Balmer.

Common Wasp Queen

A splendid Vespula vulgaris queen was skulking around in leaf litter on Maulden Heath on Thursday 18th March, preening and chewing a leg...

Photos by Keith Balmer

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Orange Underwing

Several Orange Underwings were seen on the wing along the ridge trail at the Lodge today.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Unidentified moth 17th March 2010

This small (c. 12mm , 1/2 inch) long moth was in my parent's kitchen this evening near Stewartby Lake this afternoon. If anyone knows what it is please let me know... I've altered the colour balance as I used the camera's flash to take this photo, the colours look about right to me now. If anything the moth appeared a little lighter than it does in this photo. Thanks Martin G.

Green spider

Seems appropriate for St Paddy's day, Diaea dorsata male hanging out on some logs at The Lodge yesterday

Friday, 12 March 2010

Oak Beauty

Oak Beauty at The Lodge 10/3/10