Sunday, 10 June 2012

Unseasonal weather!

An article by Heather Martin

Rodney and I went to our wood on Saturday armed with a saw to clear up the expected fallen branches and possibly even whole trees after unseasonably wild weather during Friday. The few trees that had failed to withstand the gale force winds weren't in the way of anything so were left to rot in situ.
The wind remained strong for much of the day and many insects clung on to the undersurfaces of leaves or hid low down in sheltered positions.

We saw numerous Degeer's Longhorn Nemophora degeerella moths gripping onto leaves and a distinctively marked Clouded Border moth Lomaspilis marginata sheltering amongst foliage.

Clouded Border Moth
A male Beautiful Demoiselle Calopteryx virgo kept fluttering past tantalizingly close and finally landed in a sheltered, sunny spot to rest for a few seconds.

Perched nearby was a Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula.

This large, beautifully patterned hoverfly Myathropa florea managed to find a calm, warm place in the lee of a stack of logs.

The jet black fly Mesembrina meridiana with orangy-gold on the base of its wings, feet and face had the same idea.

There's always someone ready to spoil the party! In this case for unsuspecting Heteropteran bugs taking refuge in the undergrowth. The rather handsome looking Phasia hemiptera fly is a parasite of Green Shieldbugs and Forest Bugs.

By the end of the afternoon we had given up hope of seeing any butterflies when Rodney called me on the radio to say he had seen a Large Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanus) at the edge of the track across a section coppiced two years ago.

Luckily it hadn't strayed far when I arrived with my camera. Our first Large Skipper sighting this season to add to a rather poor 2012 total of butterflies for our patch to date.

All pictures by Heather Martin 10/06/2012

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