Sunday 13 August 2017

Hoverating & other things with wings... again

So no sooner had I written my blog post on Tuesday evening than on Thursday yet another new ladybird was added to the RSPB Rainham Marshes list but the ever diligent Yvonne Crouch who specifically came to the reserve to search for Nephus quadrimaculatus.

This species is a lover of old Ivy on trees and so off she went looking and a bit like Andrew Jewels last Sunday, she quickly returned with a wee beastie in a pot and when I say wee I mean ludicrously tiny. Just how she found one let alone four is beyond me but under a hand lens you could see the typical (if slightly elliptical) shape and the four orange spots that give it its name. It is not rare but unsurprisingly had never been recorded here.

Jerry H was around and we amused ourselves with trying to get a shot of this very mobile 3mm long beetle before returning it to its Ivy home. 

Nephus quadrimaculatus - Jerry Hoare

Today was the hottest day of the week and as with so many summer days at Rainham, it was very quiet as people took the chance to escape to the coast rather than tramp around an inland marsh. I spent some quality grubbing time in the Adventure Playground, in the Wildlife Garden and car park and at the end of the ramp, engaging with any who ambled along and showing them the wonders of hoverflies, bees and such like.

Our most beautiful cow on Purfleet Scrape - complete with photobombing Wood Pig!

All the while the sky was full of Starlings who would periodically descend to stuff their faces on overripe Blackberries before heading off to Purfleet Scrape to terrorise the Lapwings, Godwits and skittish Green Sandpipers with their noisy and energetic bathing!

I found several territorial Xanthagramma pedisequum at the path conjunction before the playground and eventually got some good shots while trying not to be distracted by the Lesser and Common Whitethroats feeding in the adjacent Rosehips.

Xanthagramma pedisequum ss

Xanthagramma pedisequum ss

Xanthagramma pedisequum ss
Chrysotoxum bicinctum and festivum were also seen along with several Eristalis arbustorum with their white faces. A Brown Hawker was patrolling the same piece of path as on Wednesday and Dawn Cowan even got a perched shot which is no mean feat and several Migrants and Southerns were similarly looking for prey.

Brown Hawker - Dawn Cowan

female Migrant Hawker

Back in the car park I headed for our only patch of Wild Marjoram and found four Shrill and six Brown Banded Carder Bees enjoying themselves but they were hemmed in by three fat Wasp Spiders who had each already got plump parcels wrapped and waiting.

The area is doing well after the summer lads cut out all of the Sloe suckers and I was particularly impressed by the burrs of the Agrimony that attached themselves to me quite liberally!

Shrill Carder Bee - Bombus sylvarum

Brown Banded Carder Bee - Bombus humilis

Wasp Spider

Lesser Marsh and Meadow Grasshoppers were seen and Roesel’s Bush Crickets chirped but I could not find any Groundhoppers on the bare areas and have in fact not seen any species for two years now.

Long winged form of Meadow Grasshopper

There were more bumbles of both the aforementioned species in the Wildlife Garden along with aggressive Wool-Carder, Common Carder, Buff and Red-tailed with most of the action around the mint bed where tiny, fat thighed Syritta pipiens hoverflies vied for space amongst Mint Moths, Greenbottles, more Eristalis arbustorum and a nice furry Myathropa flora.

Eristalis arbustorum

Eristalis arbustorum - white face as well as rear metatarsel and tibia are both the same girth

Myathropa florea
Mint Moth - not sure of species yet
Wool-Carder - Anthidium manicatum

Green Shieldbug instar

There were several flying ants nectaring and numerous short nosed weevils that I have yet to identify that we kept finding all over the building and each other. I did wonder if this is why the Starling were so mobile and high flying for much of the day?

A large black flying Ant

And so I ended the week with yet another new invert species with a delightfully marked red and black bug called Corizus hyoscyami. 

Corizus hyoscyami

Corizus hyoscyami

I now need to transform this ‘new insect a week’ trend into a new Patchwork Challenge bird a week as things have fallen somewhat flat over the summer and I need a good autumn boost to propel me back up the Estuarine chart!

13th August 2017

1 comment:

  1. Seen a few Shrill Carder and although I have seen lots of Corizus, I have not seen them at Rainham, a nice find.