Sunday, 31 July 2011

Bromham Lake LNR

A few things noticed at Bromham Lake LNR while recc'ing for a field trip next week:

A nice Pyrausta aurata:

My second non-chalk site this week for Nemophora metallica (all previous Beds records were on the chalk):

One of many Bishop's Mitre shieldbugs which were easily swept in the meadow:

And finally a seedling of a species of Oak new to science, with a flower like that of Creeping Cinquefoil...

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Brown Argus egg

Another egg, this time a Brown Argus found on the underside of a dove-foot cranesbill leaf at Begwary Brook NR, the first photo alongside a grain of salt for size comparison. The egg is approx 1/2mm across.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Nemophora metallica

This micro was alternately feeding and egg-laying in a head of field scabious at Old Warden Tunnel. David Manning confirmed my ID of Nemophora metallica, adding that it was the first Beds record away from the chalk.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Speckled Egg

I found this Speckled Wood egg at Old Warden Tunnel today:

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Mystery Clutch of Eggs

I stumbled upon this clutch of eggs on an apple tree leaf at Ampthill Park today. They are each approx 1.5mm across so laid by something quite large, but I'm not sure what yet. I wondered about a hawkmoth, Eyed being the most likely candidate as it does lay on apple, but I'm not convinced yet, so will try to breed them through to find out...

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Nemophora cupriacella

Yesterday I was alerted to the presence of “an amazingly coloured moth” in the Wildlife Garden at Priory Country Park by colleagues Katharine and Rachel, so I went there this morning on the off-chance that it could be refound. It (or another) was initially feeding on ragwort until disturbed by an ant, when it moved to pose nicely on a rush. (Will have to look again in sunshine to get some better pics).

David Manning kindly confirmed my tentative ID of Nemophora cupriacella adding that it was a female, and that is feeds on scabious, which is probably at the site.

Dark Green Fritillaries

I thought the overcast conditions today might give some hope of close-ups of Dark Green Fritillaries which normally hurtle around too much in sunshine. Was pleased therefore to encounter a pair on the Moleskin section at Sharpenhoe Clappers. I still had to creep up on them very slowly though having put them to flight twice using a normal degree of stealth! The female is on the left.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011


Forget the Purple Emperors at Chicksands Wood, take a look at the field next door (west), the best display of poppies I have ever seen! Photos can't do it justice - go and see for yourself.

All taken with my 105mm macro lens. Must go back with a wide angle...

Monday, 27 June 2011

Bigger and Braver

The Dolichovespula media nest on my eaves has come on a treat, with a constant stream of workers entering with food for the young or wood pulp for the nest.

In a quest for clearer pictures I cautiously opened the transom window alongside it and poked the lens to within about 9 inches! So far so good, they haven't shown any anxiety or aggression, yet...

My next quest is to get decent pics of workers arriving in flight with food...

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Purple Emperor

Finally, after years of trying, had good views of a male Purple Emperor on the ground at Chicksands Wood this lunchtime!

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Honeydon RNR

Spurred on by enthusiastic reports of the Honeydon road verges on the BNHS newsgroup I headed there this morning. Found Bombus pascuorum, Apis mellifera and Bombus hortorum on some rather pretty nectar sources (three rare flowers: Crested Cow-wheat, Spiked Star-of-Bethlehem, and Sulphur Clover).

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Priory Skipper

Cool today, so this male Large Skipper at Priory Country Park reluctantly let me invade his personal space.

Am I the only one thinking of a teddy bear?

Nest Growing

The nest is developing quickly now there are workers to help:

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Privet Hawkmoth

Found this 59mm monster Privet Hawkmoth (Sphinx ligustri) on my back gate today. Awesome!

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Rare Wasp?

I'm still waiting for confirmation but I believe this to be a female Odynerus melanocephalus a nationally "Notable A" species, seen today at Sandy Smith NR.

If anyone sees a wasp like this, with wings folded lengthways and white (rather than yellow) bands on the abdomen, please let me know, as it may be this species. It would be good to know where else it may be...

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Red Admiral sets sail

Greeted this morning by a fresh Red Admiral on the inside of my living room window. (Must wash it occasionally!). The caterpillar blogged on 17th May eating its last leaf has now passed through the pupal stage in just 11 days to become this fresh butterfly, now flying free in the great outdoors. The egg was laid just 36 days earlier.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Sleepy Bee

Another photo of a bee resting by clamping its mandibles onto foliage, this time a wind-tossed grass at Fenlake Meadows.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Ton Up!

Despite the recently gloomy weather construction of the wasp nest has continued. The entrance tube has now been shortened (still no idea what it was for) and work started on another layer of skin. I haven't watched the nest for a while so I don't know if this is still the work of the queen alone or if she now has workers to assist. (Its too cold today for any activity to observe).

Apparently this is my 100th Blog entry! Its amazing how time flies when you are having fun!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Army or Air Force?

Soldier beetles made a fun target today on Maulden Heath despite the wind playing havoc with close focusing. This first one looks like a base-jumper...

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Daily dose

Needed my fix of macro but left it a bit late, diving into my front garden for the final rays of sunshine. Bombus pratorum workers were busy on the blue salvia making a colourful combination:

Then in deep shade spotted this amazingly coloured beetle with its head buried in a mint, so you'll have to make do with a close-up of its bum...

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Clutch of Eggs

Spotted this clutch of eggs on blackthorn at Mowsbury Hill this evening. After Andy and Melissa thought they weren't a moth's I then asked Bernard and Sheila if they had a notion. Bernard came up trumps with an identifcation of Troilus luridus, the Bronze Shieldbug...

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Nice syrup

On these cold gloomy days I've taken to grovelling around in the undergrowth looking for micros (honest officer!), David Manning then being kind enough to confirm my IDs, or provide them for those I struggle with (which is most!). These especially small ones at Mowsbury Hill today were confirmed as Micropterix aruncella.

At least they move more slowly in the cold weather, if only it was a bit brighter so that I didn't have to resort to ISO 1600!