Tuesday 22 May 2018

Dancing Terns & Some Quality Hoverating...

RSPB Rainham Marshes 21-22 May 2018
Yesterday I managed to complete a circuit of the reserve on a mission to check out signage.  I had forgotten all my gear and only had my close focus bins but they were more than ample for counting wildfowl broods, watching food passing Marsh Harriers and getting close to hoverflies and such like.

In the warm late morning sunshine I found a proper little hoverfly haven on the patch of Meadow Buttercups by Dent’s Drop and on there and in the immediate area I picked up 15 species.

Ø  Eristalis pertinax

Ø  Eristalis tenax

Ø  Syrphus ribesii

Ø  Episyrphus balteatus

Ø  Tropidia scita

Ø  Helophilus hybridus

Ø  Eupeodes luniger

Ø  Eristalinus sepulchralis

Ø  Rhingia campestris

Ø  Anasimyia contracta

Ø  Cheilosia impressa

Ø  Sphaerophoria scripta

Ø  Platycheirus albimanus

Ø  Melanostoma scalare

Ø  Melangyna compositarum/ labiatarum new to the reserve & me

Melangyna compositarum/ labiatarum enjoying some quality Hogweed time - glad I had my phone

The last of these is an almost inseparable pairing (if indeed they are different) and I was very happy to have confirmation from Roger Morris of my id which does wonders for your hoverfly confidence.

Two Wood Sandpipers (I saw one) tripped around on the Target Pools with seven Ringed Plover and six more of the latter were on the Thames foreshore as Andy Tweed and I watched four graceful Black Terns patrolling mid-river that had been earlier found by Sean Huggins.

After this things got a little mad for a twenty minute period mid-afternoon. The first four Black Terns had moved inland and east, before 20 more arrived an hour later. These were joined by seven more just before they all bunched together and went very high inland and east up the Mardyke. The presence of two White-winged Blacks amongst them was suspected but the light was terrible over the river but better as they headed speedily off into the blue. Thankfully, on searching Andy Tweed's pics he managed to find one that showed that our suspicions were indeed correct. It would appear that both species were noted at several sites across the country during the day. 

White-winged Black Tern - Andy Tweed

Hobbies continue to entertain and with more dragonflies and damselflies on the wing they were starting to hunt lower down.

Hobby - Andrew Litchfield

Swifts - John Humble

A quieter day today (albeit with a brief bit of distant Honey Buzzard excitement) but a mid-afternoon escape for half an hour with Annie Jackson and Max Hellicar down to my Buttercup patch proved most worthwhile, not only for the company but also the inverts that put on a great show. Although some of the hoverflies were the same I was delighted to add several more to the list including:

Ø  Anasimyia lineata another new site species (I think) with several present

Ø  Merodon equestris looking like a rotund bumblebee

Ø  Eristalis intricaria

Ø  Parhelophilus sp

Ø  Helophilus pendulus

Anasimyia lineata - look at that nose!

Anasimyia lineata - cleaning behind its head!
Merodon equestris

Merodon equestris

Helophilus pendulus

Cheilosia impressa - I believe from the yellow wing patches. More obvious from above

Large Nursery Web Spiders laid in wait on the Nettles and Greenbottles and my first Ashy Mining Bee joined the Hovers on the Buttercups.

Ashy Mining Bee - Andrena cineraria

Ashy Mining Bee - Andrena cineraria

Azure and Blue Tailed Damsels zipped around and Hairy Hawker and a teneral Black-tailed Skimmer were seen too while Holly Blue was the common butterfly.

Holly Blue

The centre called and hoverating and grubbing was put on hold for another day...

1 comment:

  1. Nice Hoverfly haul Howard. Congratulations on the A L. Lawrence