Monday, 16 October 2017

Roesel's Courting

I saw a male Roesel's Bush Cricket sitting on top of long grasses with his wings raised. I presumed that he was singing as I can't hear sounds this high any more. It seems that he was indeed as a female hopped and crawled towards him, and, after a quick introduction, the deed was done. Interesting to note that they are still mating this late in the year. At Mowsbury Hill LNR today.

A lucky shot!

They say that sometimes you make your own luck. In this case it's probably true. If you take enough pictures eventually the shutter will go off at just the right moment, as here. I had just beaten this Hawthorn Shieldbug from a box bush at Mowsbury Hill and was taking some ordinary top shots of it on a leaf that I was holding in my left hand, and photographing single handed with my right, when it took flight...

This was the moment before:

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Shieldbug #17 - Spiked

Another shieldbug species added today, this time a Spiked Shieldbug, swept from low vegetation at Priory County Park on a very warm Sunday afternoon:

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Shieldbug #16 - Parent

I scored a hat-trick of new shieldbug species at Fenlake Meadows today, with Parent Shieldbug being the third, also beaten from Alder:

Shieldbug #15 - Bronze

I also added another shieldbug species at Fenlake Meadows, beaten from an Alder; the Bronze Shieldbug:

Shieldbug #14 - Blue

After a fruitless search for Scarce 7-spot ladybird at Maulden Wood today I popped into Fenlake Meadows on the way home to search for Blue Shieldbug which I've seen there before. Within two minutes I found one (and only one) beaten from low vegetation:

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Red Admirals

Just a selection of the eight or so Red Admirals on Ivy at Cople Pits NR today. Stunning!

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Ivy Bee - Colletes hederae

I finally had my first Bedfordshire encounter with Ivy Bees (Colletes hedereae) today where there is a large aggregation in the paths at Cottage Bottom Fields in TL03642098.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Grey Dagger

Noted this Grey Dagger moth caterpillar on quince in my garden. (Taken on my new Panasonic TZ-90 which I'm still getting to grips with).

Friday, 8 September 2017

Volucella zonaria

Cabin fever forced me out for a walk around the block this evening. I pocketed my new Panasonic TZ-90, just in case, and glad that I did as I spotted this Volucella zonaria on ivy flowers in the gloom of late evening. (Still getting to grips with the new camera so may need to fiddle with flash settings a bit more...)

Saturday, 26 August 2017


Spotted this male Vapourer moth resting briefly on my kitchen window this lunchtime:

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Hornets' Nest

I was heading towards an oak tree in Rowney Warren to beat insects from it when I had a change of plan, taking a few cautious shots of this hornets' nest instead. As I was standing in their flight path and thereby causing some interest to the residents I didn't hang around for long.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Ladybird #17 - Adonis

After a tip-off from Rosemary I visited Knocking Hoe this morning to find lots of Adonis ladybirds on the moon carrot on the top of the mound. They were quite a bit smaller than I'd expected. It was blowing a gale up there so I should be content with these from a bunch of blurry and out of focus efforts...

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Box Bug

As you enter Priory Country Park by the main entrance there is a buckthorn to the left of the driveway, on which are lots of nymphs and adults of the Box Bug Gonocerus acuteangulatus...

Ladybird #16 - 16-spot

I'd seen 16-spot ladybirds twice earlier this year, but this time I finally managed to photograph one. I'd just sat down on a bench at Priory Country Park when I noticed at my feet several scampering through the grass. Nearly impossible to photograph there I managed to put one onto the bench where it whizzed along at an impressive speed, but occasionally paused when it found something to eat, allowing a few snaps.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Shieldbug #13 - Crucifer

I'm recovering from hand surgery at the moment so my ladybird/shieldbug quest is on pause, however while walking around Priory Country Park today with my brother and sister-in-law Paul spotted something on a nettle that I recognized as a missing shieldbug, the Crucifer. You will have to make do with a left-handed phone pic until I'm well enough to wield a DSLR again.

Here's a rather better picture from Knocking Hoe on 18/08/17 where I found one sheltering from the gale on a moon carrot.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Garden valezina!

The most exciting thing to turn up in my garden since, well, forever! My first garden Silver-washed Fritillary was a valezina, and not only that but she appeared to lay several eggs on my garage wall. I'm now searching every brick through a magnifying glass, but sadly haven't found one yet...

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Jersey Tiger

My tiny Bedford garden is doing rather well for exciting things this season. This is my first Jersey Tiger, which hung around for several hours today.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Six-belted Clearwing

This was a nice surprise, a Six-belted Clearwing swept in the cutting at Old Warden Tunnel today. Andy Banthorpe says that it is the first record for the site.

Shieldbug #12 - Tortoise

Not quite the finished article - 4th and 5th instar nymphs of the Tortoise shieldbug Eurygaster testudinaria - but they count as the 12th shieldbug species of the year. Swept in the cutting at Old Warden Tunnel today.

Friday, 23 June 2017

pirri pirri burr - Acaena novae-zelandiae

Concerned to note that there are quite a lot of patches of pirri pirri burr (Acaena novae-zelandiae) alongside Cooper’s Hill SSSI in the region of TL0273 3752 (south of the rugby pitches, west of the SSSI). New plants are establishing. This is a highly invasive species...

Carcina quercana

I knew that I recognized this as soon as it fell into my beating tray at Cooper's Hill, though I didn't know why. It was only when I reached for Sterling, Parsons and Lewington's Field Guide to the Micro Moths of Great Britain and Ireland that I realized that it was on the cover!

White earwig

It's quite common to have earwigs drop into my beating tray but I've never had a white one before! I believe that it was because it had just undergone ecdysis and hadn't coloured-up yet. (At Cooper's Hill today).

Shieldbug #11 - Red-legged

Nearly every tree that I beat at Cooper's Hill today had Red-legged Shieldbugs tumbling out of them into my tray.

Some had redder legs than others:

The were mostly adults but there were a few final instar too:

Monday, 19 June 2017

There are Tigers in my garden!

I spotted a Scarlet Tiger flying in my garden this afternoon which eluded the camera (and me) for a while, but I eventually found it skulking under the buddleia.

Half an hour later I found another. (The spots are slightly different if you look closely).

They don't like flash though, unlike most insects that don't seem to notice it, so make your first attempt at a photo a good one as you may not get a second!

I wonder why they like my garden as I don't have any larval foodplant (e.g comfrey or green alkanet). Maybe it's just because its a bit of a wild oasis in an urban desert.