Monday 16 July 2018

RSPB Cliffe Pools - 16th July 2018

Warm weather in the summertime is a boon to insects and the desire to have a lay in this morning was overcome by the urge to get out somewhere to have a look before it got too hot so I headed out to RSPB Cliffe Pools after the school run and slowly bumped my way down the track to the Black Barn Pools.

Ruddy Darters zipped away in front the whole way down and Whites and Browns flicked around in profusion with gliding Red Admirals amongst them.

Red Admiral
Red Admiral being crypic on an old Reedmace head
Essex Skipper

The pools actually looked very good with lots of mud and shallow water but were very quiet – possibly due to the two young RSPB ladies sorting out clearing the pipe for the pump. However, an adult and half grown Water Rail weaved in and out of the sedgy edge. The adult came right out and drooped and opened his wings and seemed to be sun bathing.

No Black-winged Stilts this year despite a supreme effort to create, maintain and predator fence the most suitable area but there were plenty of young Lapwing and Avocet and a couple of Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit and Greenshank to be seen.  A half grown brood of Pochard paddled arcoss the pool. The gull colony was still in full swing and I could pick out numerous Meds among the Black-heads including adults attending still fluffy young.

A couple of youngsters were already on the wing and adults ‘kowwed’ overhead shining white against the strong sunlight while a juvenile Marsh Harrier quartered the fields.

Med Gull

I spent some time wandering up and down the ditches at the sides of the road but failed to find anything bigger than a Ruddy Darter although they did indeed put on a great show. Scarce Emerald Damselflies were loafing around in the reedmace and sedge and Azure, Blue-tail and Common Blue were all seen.

All the above are Ruddy Darters

The remaining Bramble flowers were being visited by high pitched Shrill Carder  Bombus sylvarum and Brown Banded Carder Bees - Bombus humilis along with a little stripy Colletes that I believe to be C fodiens – the Hairy Saddled Colletes.

Shrill Carder  Bombus sylvarum

Hairy Saddled Colletes - Colletes fodiens - probably

Hairy Saddled Colletes - Colletes fodiens

Hairy Saddled Colletes - Colletes fodiens

Hairy Saddled Colletes - Colletes fodiens- well at least that is what I think until I am told otherwise

Andrena flavipes was also in attendance as well as one Megachile but I failed to get a shot of that.

Andrena flavipes

Andrena flavipes - darker than at Rainham
There was a small selection of hoverflies with Eristalis intricaria, tenax and nemorum, Eristalinus aeneus and sepulchralis (the latter were tiny), Episyrphus balteatus, Eupeodes luniger, Helophilus pendulus and Sphaerophoria scripta.  The two Eristalinus species were incredibly noisy, whining in and out of the Ragwort, Bristly Ox Tongue and soft flouncy Perennial Sow Thistle heads.

Helophilus pendulus

Eristalinus aeneus
Eristalis intricaria

Eristalis intricaria

Eristalis intricaria

Eristalis nemorum

Eristalis nemorum

Eupeodes luniger - I believe it to be a female of this species despite the reduced black y on the frons as the lunate spots on the abdomen do not reach the sides
 Perennial Sow Thistle

Bristly Ox Tongue 

Lucilia sp

I also discovered that our lovely Levels Yellow-horned HorseflyHybomitra ciureai is to be found here too and that unlike at Rainham they will go for nicely exposed section of lower human leg...

The piebald horses were way out in the old ranges this time but it looks like we are using Exmoors or something similar to help with scrape management which is good.

Unknown odd little plane...

It was now almost too hot to continue so with a passing Yellow Wagtail I bumped my way back towards the village but stopped almost at the end opposite the huge barn conversion and took a short amble down the north running footpath. Within that first 100m I found four stunning male Blue Eyed Hawkers patrolling the ditch line and although they were too quick for any pictures they looked superb in the bins and never landed once – such boundless energy in the quest for a meal.

There were plenty of Scarce Emeralds - Lestes dryas in the ditch too

It was still only 1130 but too hot out in the open so I headed for home and a nice cup of tea...

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