Monday, 26 August 2013

Mottled Grasshoppers

Visited Cooper's Hill today specifically to photograph Mottled Grasshoppers. Here's one of each gender:

I'd never thought about it before but this photo of a singing male shows that they stand on the front four legs while stridulating, the rear feet coming completely off the ground. Males have clearly clubbed antennae


Cooper's Cat

While scrabbling around at ground level stalking grasshoppers at Cooper's Hill I spotted this gorgeous 6-7mm long caterpillar on a grass stem.

Melissa kindly ID'd it as an Oak Eggar. Thanks Melissa!

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Rowney Warren Wasp

Bramble patches are always worth a good stare. This wasp had been feasting on ripe berries and wasn't flying anywhere, just sitting on a leaf looking rather content. (That's blackberry juice not blood!) I think it's a Vesupla vulgaris though separating from the similar V.germanica is always a bit tricky, balancing features against each other to see which way the decision tips.

Basking Slow Worm

There is a population of slow worms at Rowney Warren but they aren't always easy to find. On this occasion though it was a warm but overcast day and I wandered off-piste to where I'd found one basking a couple of years ago and instantly found this one doing exactly the same. I hadn't realised how long they can be - this one seemed to go on forever.

I think this is a female (dark flanks, narrow head, thin dorsal stripe, significant tapering below the vent)?

Speckled Bush-cricket

A male Speckled Bush-cricket singing from a bramble at Old Warden Tunnel. I could see the two vestigal wings rise and go blurry as they were rubbed together but couldn't hear anything. A bat detector would have revealed the song though. I once tracked down a bush-cricket in my garden this way.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Volucella zonaria

A walk around Great Wood and Little Wood in Ravensden today was largely uninteresting but I did have my first encounter this year with the splendid hoverfly Volucella zonaria, this one being rather nicely marked. The "chestnut brown" markings referred to in the field guides are rather more orange in this beast, but I've decided that it isn't the rather similar Volucella inanis (hopefully correctly).

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Dolichovespula sylvestris

To complete the black-and-yellow theme of today's visit to Wilstead Wood here's a representative, but not very good, photo of a Dolichovespula sylvestris social wasp which by far was the dominant social wasp active in the wood today.

Figwort Sawfly

There were quite a few of these impressive figwort sawflies (Tenthredo scrophulariae) in Wilstead Wood today, unsurprisingly hanging around the figwort plants.

Alder Moth caterpillar

I've been offline too long, largely due to computer problems, hopefully now fixed (but I've thought that before). Anyway, to resume a hopefully normal service, here's a nice find from Wilstead Wood today, an Alder Moth caterpillar, but on Hazel. Spectacular and bizarre.