Apart from a couple of hours spent photographing juvenile Reed Warblers bumbling about in the reeds, all my time this month was spent concentrating on insects.
The second brood of Holly Blues were beginning to emerge by mid-month, and other commoner butterflies in my local area included Common Blue and Large Skipper.
While the numbers of Banded Demoiselles was beginning to dwindle at Attenborough, Brown Hawkers were just beginning to emerge.
Banded Demoiselle (Calopteryx splendens)
Brown Hawker (Aeschna grandis)
copulating Blue-tailed Damselflies (Ischnura elegans)
Emerald Damselfly (Lestes sponsa)
The harmless wasp-mimic Conops quadrifasciatus is a parasite of Red-tailed Bumblebees. Both species are common at Attenborough and Long Eaton Gravel Pits.
The long furry maxillary palps on the male caddis fly Mystacides azurea (above) clasp the female around the abdomen during mating.
At the end of the month I went back down to Swansea for a weekend searching for insects in the company of old friends Ian Tew and bug expert Tristan Bantock.
Henestaris laticeps is a rare species of Ground Bug which in Britain is found only on coastal cliffs in the southwest of the country.
The Swansea area and Gower peninsula is also one of the best places in the UK for finding a diverse selection of grasshoppers.
Villa modesta is member of the Bee-fly family that inhabits coastal dunes of Wales, England and eastern Scotland. Its larvae are endoparasites of moths and occasionally bees.
While I was down in Swansea, another old friend, Barry Stewart, ran 3 moth traps at a site near Rhossili on the Gower. It is over 10 years since I've personally done any moth-trapping so it was good to have an expert around to help identify them as I have forgotten practically everything I knew! Unfortunately, I haven't yet had a chance to go through many of the photographs I took of some of the 130 species of moth we caught that night. They'll be added to the Lepidoptera galleries as soon as I can find the time to update them.
Not far from where the traps were set up is a site for what is surely Britain's most bizarre-looking moth. Agdistis meridionalis is a rare plume-moth associated with Sea-Lavender and is only found in West Wales and and southwest England.
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