July 2011

juvenile Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus scripaceus) - Attenborough, Nottinghamshire

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.

juvenile Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus scripaceus) - Attenborough, Nottinghamshire

Holly Blue (Celastrina agriolus) - River Trent, Derbyshire

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.

Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus) - Long Eaton Gravel Pits, Derbyshire

Large Skipper (Ochlodes venatus) - Long Eaton Gravel Pits, Derbyshire

While the numbers of Banded Demoiselles was beginning to dwindle at Attenborough, Brown Hawkers were just beginning to emerge.

Banded Demoiselle (Calopteryx splendens)
Attenborough, Nottinghamshire

Brown Hawker (Aeschna grandis)
Attenborough, Nottinghamshire

copulating Blue-tailed Damselflies (Ischnura elegans)
Attenborough, Nottinghamshire

Emerald Damselfly (Lestes sponsa)
Crymlyn Bog, West Glamorgan

Conops quadrifasciatus - Attenborough, Nottinghamshire

The harmless wasp-mimic Conops quadrifasciatus is a parasite of Red-tailed Bumblebees.  Both species are common at Attenborough and Long Eaton Gravel Pits.

Red-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius) - Long Eaton Gravel Pits, Nottinghamshire

Mystacides azurea - Attenborough, Nottinghamshire

The long furry maxillary palps on the male caddis fly Mystacides azurea (above) clasp the female around the abdomen during mating.

Cicadella viridis - Crymlyn Burrows, West Glamorgan

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 nymph - Thurba, West Glamorgan

Henestaris laticeps is a rare species of Ground Bug which in Britain is found only on coastal cliffs in the southwest of the country.

Henestaris laticeps - Thurba, West Glamorgan

Calocoris roseomaculatus - Crymlyn Burrows, West Glamorgan

Slender Ground-hopper (Tetrix subulata) - Crymlyn Bog, West Glamorgan

The Swansea area and Gower peninsula is also one of the best places in the UK for finding a diverse selection of grasshoppers.

Short-winged Conehead (Conocephalus dorsalis) - Crymlyn Burrows, West Glamorgan

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.

Villa modesta - Crymlyn Bog, West Glamorgan

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.

Ypsolopha scabrella - Mewslade, West Glamorgan

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. 

Agdistis meridionalis - Thurba, West Glamorgan

June 2011 2011 Diary Index August 2011