Friday, 2 October 2015

Colletes hederae

A day trip to Suffolk ended with a chance encounter with an aggregation of female Colletes hederae, new to Britain in 2001, digging in the bailey of Orford Castle at about 6:15pm when it was turning cold and the sun had already set on the location. (You can read more about the species here I've still to find it in Beds but I know it was first(?) seen in the Sandy area a couple of years ago.

Only had my toy camera with me so not great shots:

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Comma lifecycle

Raising butterflies at home can be quite easy with many species. Just find an egg (most easily done by seeing it laid) then keep the growing caterpillar supplied with fresh food (nettles for this species). Then provide something suitable for the fully grown caterpillar to pupate on. The nettle sufficed in this case. But there was a sad ending...

The pupa was parasitized by the fly Sturmia bella. A grub emerged today and then pupated:

Saturday, 25 July 2015


A shy valezina form of the female Silver-washed Fritillary in Chicksands Wood today. (My first encounter with this form). Sadly this was the best photo that I could get (sorry):

Sunday, 19 July 2015

White Admiral ab. obliterae

I had hoped for White Admiral, Silver-washed Fritillary and Purple Emperor today but had to settle for only the first two. Here are some of the six White Admirals including one showing the aberration obliterae:

ab. obliterae

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Fresh Painted Lady

This Painted Lady in a thistle patch alongside Wilstead Wood was so fresh that I suspect it was made in Bedfordshire.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Anacamptis pyramidalis var emarginata

Found today the pretty and rare form of the pyramidal orchid, Anacamptis pyramidalis var emarginata. (The normal form can be seen behind left). ID confirmed by Richard.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Silver-washed Fritillary

A rather distant glimpse of a restless male Silver-washed Fritillary in Marston Thrift on the 3rd July, so far the earliest report of one in Beds...

Wednesday, 1 July 2015


While Beds was sweltering in 30+C temperatures we had a pleasant 21C and low cloud near St David's, Pembrokeshire. Choughed to see these on my walk around St David's head...

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Golden-ringed Dragonfly

Golden-ringed Dragonfly just west of Fishguard on 30th June. Wish we had these spectacular beasts in Beds...

Grey Seals chilling

These Grey Seals have the right approach to this hot weather! West of Fishguard on 30th June.

Rose Chafer

A Rose Chafer, Cetonia aurata near Fishguard, seen while on holiday in Pembrokeshire on 30th June. Never seen it in Beds yet...

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Totternhoe Stag Party

It was wonderful hunting stag beetles this evening. Early in the evening Laura (Totternhoe Wildlife Trust warden) showed us a good place to look on Totternhoe Knolls and we found a few fragments of beetle but otherwise no signs. After a brief skirmish to look for noble chafer beetles in a local orchard about half the group went to have one more try for Stag Beetles where Laura had taken us before. It was now about 9:30pm and one was spotted in flight against the dusk sky, quickly followed by others, eventually one coming close enough to be netted. This star posed for all of us to take pictures and we all held it for a while. It was eventually placed onto shrubbery to resume its search for a mate. Wonderful, and well worth the effort to see! Thanks to Alan Outen for organizing this BIG outing and for Laura for showing us where to look.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Orange Tip pupation

The Orange Tip larva is now starting to pupate. The future wing venation is already showing on thoracic segments 2 and 3 (the ones carrying the mid and hind legs).

The next morning it had changed only a little on the outside:

but by the time I got home from work it was unrecognizable!

Thursday, 11 June 2015


The main goal of today's jaunt to Norfolk was to see Swallowtails. Failed to find them at Ranworth Marsh and Bure Marsh but they put on a good show at Hickling Broad where close views could be had along the paths when they came to refuel. Spectacular exotic creatures!

Norfolk Hawker

My first encounter with a Norfolk Hawker. (In Norfolk, before anyone in Beds gets too excited!) Seen at Cockshoot Broad (Bure Marshes NNR). Could have done with a longer lens as they refused to settle anywhere close!

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Orange Tip Ecdysis

I just caught the last 8 minutes of an Orange Tip caterpillar going through ecdysis (skin shedding) to change from one instar to another. (I'm not sure which, but not from the 1st instar which is orange). Sorry about the change in camera position and lighting. Very amateurish!

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Agapanthia villosoviridescens

The wonderful Agapanthia villosoviridescens on hogweed south of Marston Thrift this afternoon:

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Speckled Wood

This Roxton Speckled Wood posed at head height, asking to be photographed:

Hairy Embrace

I had to wade deep into a nettle bed to get this shot of mating Hairy Dragonflies:

It was probably worth it. Roxton (06/06/15).

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Latticed Heath

The first Latticed Heath that I've seen on my Old Warden Tunnel butterfly transect. I only had my phone with me so the quality isn't so good I'm afraid...

Monday, 25 May 2015

South of Marston Thrift

Windy conditions south of Marston Thrift were a challenge for macro photography with its narrow depth of field, but at least things weren't flying around too much in the overcast cool weather. My flash was also on the blink (every pun intended) only firing when it felt like it!

A male Common Blue:

A female Common Blue on ox-eye daisy:

A Small Heath:

A Lackey moth larva:

Small Tortoseshell larvae on nettles:

Aphids on sorrel, tended by ants:

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Slow Worm

Found this male slow worm hunting at Rowney Warren this afternoon. It didn't find anything to eat while I was watching and it eventually disappeared into the undergrowth.

Push me pull you

A pair of Bee Flies (Bombylius major) flying (one of them backwards!) at Old Warden Tunnel today.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Cooper's Hill

A few sightings from a blowy day on Cooper's Hill:

The gorgeously-coloured female Andrena fulva. You may find these nesting in holes in soil or lawn in your garden.

Female spider-hunting wasp Anoplius viaticus which overwinters as an adult, hence is one of the earliest solitary wasps to be seen each year:

The spectacular Green Tiger Beetle (Cicindela campestris), always on the lookout for a snack.

An early species of micro moth Dyseriocrania subpurpurella (assuming I have the ID right) which develops on oak, here hanging tightly to heather in the wind.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Early Purple Orchid

It's not too early to look for Early Purple Orchids. Here's a rosette I found today in a wood where I saw them flowering last spring...