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.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Red-tipped Clearwing

Chicksands Wood 8/8/10 near southern monument - an unexpected bonus while watching the White-letter Hairstreaks.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Blunham Lizard

A lizard on a fencepost at Blunham actually turned its head sideways for the photo, its best side presumably.

Shame about the out-of-focus blade of grass in the foreground that I didn't notice!

Photo by Keith Balmer

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Chicksands Wood

I first thought this was a bishop's mitre but it didn't seem right so took a few pics which enabled confirmation as Eurygaster testudinaria the Tortoise Shieldbug. Bernard Nau and Sheila Brooke confirmed the ID, adding that they had recently found nymphs but this was the first adult record for the county.

Nearby was this stunning fly which deserved photographing. Many thanks to Stephen Plummer and John O'Sullivan for identifying as a male Phasia hemiptera tachinid fly.

Photos by Keith Balmer

Humming-bird Hawk-moth larva

One of three larvae found at a site in north Beds this afternoon by Andy and myself - thanks to a tip-off from John Comont. Good to get a breeding record. Photo: Melissa Banthorpe

Friday, 6 August 2010

Tanner Beetle

This whopper was sitting in a porch at The Lodge today, fantastic beast.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Renhold Hedge

In a hedge north of Renhold was a Magpie laying on Blackthorn

and buff-tip larvae on an oak...

Pictures by Keith Balmer