Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Hot summer city nights....but still pretty moth-less

Well, steamy July is almost at an end; hopefully August won't be as uncomfortable nor as birdless. The highlight of the last few weeks were yesterday's Spotted Flycatchers at QECP. Only heard from high in the trees adjacent to the entrance on the last visit, yesterday an adult and spotty youngster were in the sheltered hot spot at the north end of the butterfly slope; I can't remember the last time I saw a juvenile. Smart looking and typically vocal juvenile Buzzards were overhead plus the odd Swallow.

Wild Parsnip and other umbellifers  were attracting large numbers of common hoverflies with a single C.festivum NfY and better still a Scaeva selenitica, a new spp (and recorded as such by RM). The tachinid Hedya vittata also popped up but didn't register with me despite seeing it here two years ago; a couple of Phasia hemiptera, both females,  a Silver-washed Fritiliary, singles of Chalkhill Blue and a summer gen Holly Blue plus two Southern Hawkers rounded out the inverts.

Only other notable species in the last three weeks were the Wood Sandpiper at TH and, more locally, five male Volucella zonaria.

Moth trap problems ( an assumed bulb failure but, after replacement, further investigation revealed a loose wire!) meant no trapping. Until then Jersey Tiger and the odd EHM were best of the bunch; curiously no Tree Lichen Beauties yet this year.

Below a few pix from QECP...

Dolichovespula media
Hedya vittata
Spot the SPOFLs
Meliscaeva cinctella

..from Titchfield...

Abia fasciata

..and from Blashford

Anthophora bimaculata
Mother of Pearl
Plus, here, another Mother of Pearl from Wishbone Ash 

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Pond 'n Park

A brief spin around the pond produced lots of Pantaloon Bees, probably the most numerous after Honey Bee. Cheilosia illustrata were in double figures having only seen two previously in 2019. A single Great Crested Grebe was the best bird and the hot perimeter path was good for sunning Black-tailed Skimmers, all males. A robberfly (below) Dysmachus trigonus was polishing off a Sarcophaga spp.

At the park Marbled White is now more numerous that any other species.
This fox must be pretty deaf as it sat scratching and poking about amongst the orchids etc despite me being just yards away and taking pictures; goes to show how quiet mirrorless cameras are. Eventually it turned, saw me and bolted.

The bottom path has been partly mown/strimmed opening up a nice 'flight-corridor' for all the usual butterflies and a male Emperor Dragonfly. A Dark Green Fritillary was nice to see here especially as it was perching frequently. Later, speaking to the Raynors, they had seen many DGFs on Butser, mostly blown around in the strong breeze, but little else barring Bee Orchids.

This male Hybomitra horsefly was sat on the car bonnet on return.

Saturday, 6 July 2019


Pulborough bioblitz

A   'bioblitz' took place on the heathland side of the reserve focussing on moths, dragonflies and a few bees/wasps. Also involved were SDNP/ Heathlands Reunited and a reptile group who brought along Sand Lizard, Smooth Snake and Natterjack Toads.

Part of the moth list is below but some species, from a second trap run for the next evening's event, were examined including Eyed Hawkmoth, Large Emerald, Common and possibly Satin Lutestring and Lunar-spotted Pinion.

Odonata wise Common, Ruddy (mating) and some new/female Black Darters were joined by Brown Hawker, Emperor, BBC, Four-spot, Azure, Large Red and Emerald Damsels.

Lots of Anthophora bimaculata, Ammophila wasps, Cerceris rybiensis etc.

The day's beetle expert had some potted specimens, a Dor Beetle being the only one that didn't need a hand lens!!

Nice to catch up briefly with LJ for the first time since she left.

Earlier a brief chat with MJ whilst staring into tree tops produced two hairstreaks, one looked to be Purple ; whether the second was the recently discoverd White-letter is anyone's guess!!

Thursday, 4 July 2019


Bird highlights were minimal with the high street House Martins actively nesting on the usual buildings in Arundel and later in the WWT one pair of Oystercatchers with a large but unfledged youngster; couldn't see the second pair in a brief look. Lots of acro-activity mostly from Sedge Warblers ans a few juvenile BHGs, some recently fledged and some soon to be.

Dragonflies were, unsurprisingly, the most obvious inverts with Brown Hawker and Common Darter NfY, Black-tailed Skimmer and Four-spot the most numerous plus a few Broad-bodied, this one photographed having picked up some right side damage. This fresh BTS was perched inside a hide. Despite some flowering Buddleia few butterflies with Large White the only one photographed.

The large bee hotel had attracted this small swarm of Honey Bees although further around this well camouflaged Crab Spider had reduced the population by one!

And finally it's that time of year when the ragwort has shot up and is now being munched by Cinnabar moth caterpillars.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

July starts as June ended...

....with another Buff Tip, this time from the garden in company of this EHM and a second-only Short-cloaked and a bunch of Box Moths etc.

Later a walk round the usual circuit of QECP, interrupted by an egg roll and coffee, saw a Grass Snake slither rapidly away within an instant of being trodden on!! Things change so rapidly that today Ringlet was the commonest butterfly and a single Small Tortoiseshell the least; all of the small skippers appeared to be Small with this male showing its long kinked sex brand. A few moths were kicked up including Eucosoma cana also known as Hoary Bell.
Despite the devastation adjacent to the access track some trefoil is poking up through patches of thyme. This (below) will probably be the last CSO picture this year as most are now gone over. The Viper's Bugloss is well flowered along the roadside attracting bees and patches of Yellow Mignonette (Reseda lutea, also Weld) were obvious and, along with daisies etc, were attracting reasonable numbers of hovers although nothing noteworthy.

The local Swallows started alarm calling causing me to look up over my coffee and see them mobbing a slightly scruffy looking Sparrowhawk but other than heard-only Bullfinches it was typically quiet.

You sent me a sprig of mignonette,
Cool-colored, quiet, and it was wet
With green sea-spray...
You said: 'My sober mignonette
Will brighten your room and you will not forget

In the Language of Flowers mignonette means ‘Your qualities surpass your charms’.

Sunday, 30 June 2019

Out with a whimper..

After yesterday's high temperatures today was more normal fare with a rather brief and fruitless jaunt to HA . A few Painted Ladies in the gardens and the odd Swift overhead, plus a couple of en-route Buzzards was it. Back by lunchtime and crashed out. Too knackered to be bothered with a moth trap.

With zero motivation the camera stayed in the bag so here is a Buff Tip from earlier in the moth to finish off 30DWiJ.

Saturday, 29 June 2019

Penultimate day..

Quick look at various bins at the LCE show at Titchfield.
The Hairy Hawker above was polishing off a bee; this Banded Demoiselle popped out as did the first Southern Hawker of the year, several Volucella pellucens and a Helophilus hybridus were the only notable hovers and just a single Painted Lady.

The moths from the overnight trap on display in reception included Barred Red, Cream-bordered Green Pea and Obscure Wainscot none of which have ever popped up in mine, the latter two being species I've not seen to date.

Bird wise MF gave me a look through his Leica at the distant, eclipse Garganey whilst two Greenshanks flew around calling. No sign of yesterday's Roseate Terns sadly. Beardies heard briefly and just a hazy, flappy-flappy Sparrowhawk.