Wednesday 24 June 2015

Hovertastic - oh and other stuff too...

It's been a funny old week so far, bouncing around between work, home and hospital to visit recovering Mum. Popped over RSPB Cliffe Pools and had a nice couple of hours escape on Monday evening. Lots of young waders and wildfowl including new broods of Pochard, Tufted Duck and Shelduck. Some of the pools are looking very good and I saw both Black and Bar-tailed Godwits, Dunlin and Ringed Plovers albeit distantly. 

Oh and two pair of Black-winged Stilt on the nest...  I have just added this in August as although I saw three newly hatched chicks and the other clutch also hatched, all were predated within a day by the Black-headed Gulls which was a real pity...

And things were going so well... 22 June

Cuckoos were still very vocal and active and the Black-headed Gull and Common Tern colony was in full swing with many youngsters of the former already making their first tentative flights.  Marsh harriers were spooking everything and a Glow-worm ambled across the path.

The skies darkened and the heavens opened but the resulting cloudscapes were worth the soaking...

And so this morning at work I felt the urge to head out for an amble around the woodland for a bit of quality grubbing.  Hoverflies were my main target and I actually did quite well with the following species seen : Episyrphus balteatus, Eristalis nemorum, Volucella pelucens, Xylota segnis, Syritta pipiens, Topidia scita, Parhelophilus sp, Syrphus sp, Myathropa florea, Eupeodes luniger, Platycheirus sp and a new species for me and the reserve, Epistrophe diaphana

Not at all rare but I find these dark and yellow banded hovers a real headache and getting to the right genera is a good starting point.

Epistrophe diaphana - and thanks to Joan Childs for confirming my id
It was so warm in the Cordite store that most insects were far too active and it does not help that the Hogweed ths year is rampant with some plants over seven feet tall and still growing! This makes watching flies on them can be somewhat frustrating but I did get a nice shot of a Cheilosia illustrata.

Cheilosia illustrata.
The amount of Bramble blossom is hinting at a bumper blackberry harvest and the same can be said of the Dog Roses throughout the reserve. Our Deadly Nightshade is getting a bit swamped but still has plenty of blooms. Not so much leaf damage this year so far so the Bronze Shieldbugs must be leaving it alone!

Dog Rose


Deadly Nightshade
I found a nice rather pristine looking Noon Day Fly - Mesembrina meridiana - but his watch must have been fast as it was only 11:50.... Still one of my favourite inverts, let alone flies.

Mesembrina meridiana
Another of my seasonal stars is the superb, dancing, wing waggling Poecilobothrus nobilitatus. I often get these in my garden at home where the males face off on a pond side leaf, flashing those smoky white tipped wings.  They would just not sit still today and thankfully Phil Collins has sent me a stunning picture from last week that I am sure he will not mind me using!

Poecilobothrus nobilitatus - Phil Collins
I saw several Holly Blues and Speckled Woods and a fine fresh Red Admiral was my first for a while and all the while I was on my stroll I could hear the sound of Reshanks out on the marsh. They have had such an amazing breeding season (along with the Lapwings) and the family parties are starting to bunch up and head out on communal practice flights.  It will not be long before Green Sandpipers start to reappear around the muddy margins and despite the fact that summer will barely have started, we will all be talking up the autumnal return passage of waders and the potential of something special dropping in to make us smile.

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