Friday, 30 July 2010


This monster beastie landed on my moth trap! Great Diving Beetle, Broom, 30th July 2010.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Some butterflies from the weekend:
Red Admiral, Sharpenhoe Clappers, 24th July
A couple of (the many) Chalkhill Blues flying at Sharpenhoe Clappers, 24th July
Gatekeeper, King's Wood Heath & Reach , 24th July
A a couple of Silver-washed underwings , King's Wood Heath & Reach , 24th July
...and some Brown Argus and brown female Common Blues from Octagon Farm, 25th July
This is a Brown Argus, from the lack of spots on the forewing closer to the body than the elongated spot in the middle, and the 'colon' mark of the two spots near the middle of the forward edge of the hindwing.
The same individual showing a little upperwing - note the lack of white crescents at the rear of the orange and black spots on the upperwings, I think this may be a Brown Argus feature.
I think this is the same individual, taken a few seconds later when it had moved to a new flower. This probably makes it clearer that there are no spots on the inner forewing, though you can't see all of it.
This on the other hand is a very brown female Common Blue (taken to be a Brown Argus when I photographed it). Note the spot on the under forewing closer to the body than the double spot, and the absence of two spots on the under hindwing making a colon.
This is the same individual's upper side - note the blue on the body and hint of blue on the wing bases, despite the overall Brown Argus-like appearance. Note also the narrow white crescents behind the orange and black spots on the hindwings. I'm coming to the conclusion that these two species are more difficult to ID than I thought.
Finally, a nice blue male Common Blue at College Wood on the same day - clearly a spot on the inner forewing and no colon mark on the hindwing.

Beautiful Yellow Underwing

Was trying to get some shots of the Colletes succinctus feeding on the heather at The Lodge when I saw a small moth in the heather. I recognised it as a Beautiful Yellow Underwing, but didn't realise that it was an unusual sight in Beds, so took a couple of snaps and moved on. ID has since been confirmed, making this the first Beds record since 1979!

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Watch your weevil

This Cerceris arenaria on Maulden Heath flies in with a weevil to stock her nest hole for her young to develop on.

However the hole had become obscured while she was away and she had to put down her prey to dig it open.
While her back was turned an opportunist Hedychrum niemelai (maybe) lays an egg on the weevil. Unless it was removed by the C.arenaria the ruby-tail's grub will kill the C.arenaria's grub and take over the food-store for itself

Pictures by Keith Balmer

WLH laying?

This female White-letter Hairstreak in Maulden Wood was walking along Elm branches and seemingly laying on buds, typically near the ends of the branches, but on close inspection afterwards I couldn't find any eggs. Still, it shows where on elms to look for them during the winter months...

Keith Balmer

Anniversary Plaque

The Natural History Society’s 25th anniversary plaque at Centenary Wood, Pulloxhill, seen at the Butterfly Meeting on the 24th July. Photo by David Anderson.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Some shots from King's Wood Heath and Reach, Monday 19th July. First some Purple Hairstreaks, coming down onto bramble and low-growing oak in the heat:

A female Silver-washed Fritillary underwing:
And a male Southern Hawker dragonfly:

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Brand new for VC30..........

This little beastie is Duponchelia fovealis (1403a). It is an immigrant species originating from the Mediterranean region and 1st appeared in Britain in 1996. Usually coastal, it has taken 14 years to finally end up in our back yard and is the 5th new species of Micro Moth to be recorded this year!

Duponchelia fovealis- Upper Caldecote- 19/20th July 2010

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Wilstead Wood

A pleasant assortment of creatures at large today, beginning with an impressive Volucella inanis (I think, unless it is V.zonaria?)

Then a crab spider with the remains of a Barred Yellow:

The surprise of the day was a Red-tipped Clearwing. (There are a lot of goat willows in the wood on which it may have bred, which is why I was there looking for Purple Emperors (none seen)). It flew off immediately after this fuzzy banking shot, never to be seen again:

There was a nice selection of common butterflies (plus White Admiral and White-letter Hairstreak). Meadow Brown (female):

Ringlet and Small White:

Red Admiral:

Large Skipper:

Brown Argus:

Over-seeing it all was this five-legged Volucella pellucens (taken at 1/8000 second):

All pictures by Keith Balmer

Sunday, 18 July 2010

2360 Ear Moth (Amphipoea oculea)

Came to 15w actinic light Leighton Buzzard on 12/07/10 and kindly confirmed as A. oculea by A&M Banthorpe.

King's Wood, H&R

Here are two of the 22 species seen this afternoon on a Butterfly Conservation field trip to King's Wood, Heath and Reach; two of seven Silver-washed Fritillaries and an obliging Purple Hairstreak:

Photos by Keith Balmer

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Nearly forgot! On Saturday in Chicksands Wood, Martin Green fails to step on a male Purple Emperor (damage to wings not done by Martin, AFAIK):

Some catching up from Dave Ball:
Black Hairstreak, Marston Thrift
White-letter Hairstreak, Chicksands Wood
Dark Green Fritillary, Sharpenhoe
Silver-washed Fritillary, Kings Wood Heath and Reach
White Admiral , Kings Wood Heath and Reach
Purple Emperor , Chicksands Wood (one of 79 shots of this obliging individual)
Purple Emperor , Kings Wood Heath and Reach
Downy Emerald , Kings Wood Heath and Reach
Small Red-eyed Damselfly, Willington GP