Tuesday 9 June 2020

Many flies but no butter... 9th June 2020

I ostensibly went out in the sunny interlude today to look for local woodland edge butterflies at Crabbles Bottom Orchard but it was just not warm enough but the bramble patch was alive with bees and flies including a good Hoverfly selection and I stayed at the same spot for nearly an hour before I had to be on my way.

Two highlights were my very first Criorhina floccosa (I remembered to look for the hair tufts) that eluded my photographic attempts and only my second ever Volucella inflata which posed nicely. Eristalis horticola and Xylota segnis were also my first local sightings and Volucella pellucens and Syrphus vitripennis/torvus was new for the year.

Volucella inflata

Volucella inflata

Volucella pellucens

Myathropa florea

Helophilus pendulus

female Syrphus vitripennis / torvus

male Syrphus sp

male Syrphus sp

The commonest bees were Honeys and rather strangely Bombus vestalis with a few pascuorum, hypnorum, pratorum and terrestris.  I have noticed this at Rainham before when these big Cuckoo Bees suddenly appear in numbers but at least they are pretty straight forward to identify.

Cuckoo Bee - Bombus vestalis

Cuckoo Bee - Bombus vestalis

Forest Cuckoo Bee - Bombus vestalis

There were some other small bees and wasps to be seen and I have had a stab at sorting them out.  Hopefully some online help will come to my aid. 

tiny bee sp

male Andrena sp?

Hylaeus confusus -White Jawed Yellow-faced Bee

Spider Hunting Wasp sp

Shiny Greenbottles and randy Flesh Flies were sunbathing and there were a few Scorpion Flies and Spotted Cranefly dancing around but the only butterflies were one each of Small and Green-veined White, a tatty female Holly Blue, Speckled Wood and a couple of Meadow Browns that I disturbed from the grass.


Flesh Flies

Sicus ferrugineus - the Quasimodo of the fly world
Nemophora degeerella

Small White

Holly Blue

Dark Bush Cricket
Seven Spot Ladybirds and this Red-legged Shieldbug instar was also seen but my hoped for Silver Washed Frits, White Admirals and Marbled Whites did not appear but I shall return to the same spot on other warm days from now on as it looks perfect.

Red legged Shieldbug nymph

The three meadows amongst the orchard scrub were now covered in short Ox Eye Daisies and there were Oedemera nobilis, Summer Chafers and a single Small Copper on the blooms.

The Ragged Robin had grown a bit and there were the spikes of Pyramidal Orchids poking through the sea of white and yellow.

Summer Chafer

Pyramidal Orchid

Pyramidal Orchid

Small Copper

Yellow Shell

Lady's Bedstraw

The yellow vetch seemed to be a Bird’s-foot Trefoil but the plants were very tail and the flowers and leaves bigger than I am used to seeing so I was wondering if I should add the word Greater in front of it.

Greater Bird’s-foot Trefoil?
Field Rose

Robin's Pin Cushion

From here I nipped across the river to meet up with Paul Manning for a walk around Grays Gorge in search of the elusive Green-flowered Helleborines.  By the end of our amble they were still on the MIA list and we both think we may just be a little early.  The Man Orchids and Twayblades were pretty over since I visited last week as were the two little clumps of Bird's Nest Orchid that Paul found.  However the Common Spotteds were really getting going and showed a wonderfully diverse range of colours and patterns including one with an owl’s head on every flower!

Man Orchid

Man Orchid

Bird's Nest Orchid

Owl Spotted Orchid

Common Spotted Orchid

Common Spotted Orchid

Owl Spotted Orchid - magic

I found a few hoverflies including Xanthagramma pedisequum –agg, Eristalis arbustorum, Myathropa florea and Episyrphus balteatus and just like at Crabbles Bottom, Bombus sylvestris was the commonest bumble with the sweet smelling Privet proving popular.

Xanthagramma pedisequum –agg

Coremacera marginata - looking for a nice fresh Snail

A Common Darter was my first of the season and an orange chaser had me thinking Scarce and I was delighted to confirm it when it landed in some Teasels. This is not the first recorded down here but there is no moving water so it is all a little odd but I was not complaining!

Scarce Chaser

Scarce Chaser
I went to check on some White Bryony for the Ladybirds and Bees and was delighted to once again find Andrena florea in good numbers along with a nice clump of Deadly Nightshade just behind it.

Andrena florea

Deadly Nightshade

It was nice to hear a Willow Warbler singing and a Med Gull called high above with a drifting flock of Black-headed Gulls and with that I left Paul to a final walk around and started to head for home, strangely weary after my little trip out.

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