Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Time Flies


TIME - It's been a while since my last posting, almost 6 months!, so I guess it's about TIME for another one?
This year, with regards to 'nature watching'  I've had a bit of a change in direction..not so many birding outings  but more outings focused on BUGS, or insects as the more serious like to say!
It's such a large and diverse subject and I've become totally hooked, and it's all TIME consuming...I can go out for a few hours 'bugging' and easily come home with 300+ images on the memory card, it then takes a few days (TIME) to sort through them and ID what I've happily snapped away at! 
Subjects can range from the larger, more obvious, Damsel/Dragon Flies down to the small and barely noticeable leaf and plant hoppers. I find them all fascinating and beautiful.

Anyway, that's enough waffle...here's a few FLIES 


 Bluebottle  Calliphora vicina    Very familiar!

 
Thick-Headed Fly  Sicus ferrugineus   a parasitoid of bumblebees.


Broad Centurion  Chloroyia formosa   One of the many Soldierflies which are named after their brightly coloured 'uniforms', this is a green and bronze male, the female is green and blue.


A Picture-Winged Fly  Tephritis neesii   (about 4mm long)  Belonging to a group of flies that wave their strikingly patterned wings around, semaphore style, to claim territory or attract a mate.


 A Slender-footed Robberfly  Leptarthrus brevirostris   An insect eating fly, this one is enjoying a Mirid Bug for it's lunch.


Greenbottle  Lucilia sericata   Another familiar fly!


 A Fever Fly  Dilophus febrilis   One of the St. Mark's Flies seen in early spring often flying in large swarms, and typically with their legs dangling. This is a female, the male has large bulbous eyes.


Lesser Housefly  Fannia lustrator   Another regular visitor to 'our world'   (note the damaged eye)


 These last two are from the family of Tachinidae flies (Parasitic Flies) the larvae of these flies are parasitoids of other insects especially the caterpillars of butterflies and moths.


 Fannia Lustrator


 Tachina fera


Hopefully my next post won't be so long in coming but, you know what they say....TIME FLIES...[;o)

 

Monday, 23 January 2017

A NEW YEAR SELECTION


 It's been a while since I've posted on here...about six months!, for no good reason apart from a large dose of lethargy on my part. So, I thought I'd better make the effort and start off the new year with a selection of images taken over the last month.

We've had a few crisp, bright and frosty days over the last few weeks and most of the local water bodies have had large amounts of ice on them, concentrating the wildfowl into smaller areas than normal...making life a little easier for the photographer...!


Gadwall taking flight...



Tufted Duck fly over...

 
 A pretty in pink Mr. Wigeon...


 There's quiet a few Goosander being reported in the area at the moment...



Still finding it difficult getting the contrast right between the iridescent green head and the subtle salmon pink tinged body of the male!



Plenty of 'winter' thrushes about at the moment too...

Fieldfare



Redwing


A male Reed Bunting... 


And in plain view, instead of using it's camouflage to 'hide' in the undergrowth, a fly over Snipe...


And my 'bestest' little birds of the year..so far!..a very showy pair of Stonechats...

 Female

Male


That's it...thanks for looking.


 

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

SLEEPING MARBLES



Yesterday morning I went out early, just after 4am and the temperature already up to 16°, to see if I could find some roosting butterflies in the hope that if I did find some they would be coated in dew.

It didn't take long to locate a few roosting Marbled Whites Melanargia galathea ...and yes, they did have a coating of dew, although not as much as I would have liked given that after a short walk through the long grass my boots and my trousers were already soaked through.






I also found some male Chalk Hill Blue Butterflies Lysandra coridon  they seemed to be early risers and were already on the way to 'drying out'.
 
  
By 7.15am the temperature was rising (20°) in the warm sunshine and the butterflies were already taking to the wing and only briefly stopping to spread their wings and gain that little extra bit of warmth. 



 I also saw this roosting moth  Sulpher Pearl  Sitochroa palealis.
 

Not a bad few of hours, I got some reasonable images, a thorough soaking...and was back home in time for breakfast.


AND.......


....I also managed to get a fat hand!....I guess it's bound to happen If you go crawling about in in the long grass early in the morning, some sleepy insect is going to take offence at being woken up and is going to...BITE YOU!




Since I took these photos this morning my hand has gotten a little fatter and my forearm is now joining it, I can't fully close my hand and the 'blister' has started to weep...apart from a slight itching there isn't any pain, all I've got to remember is...DON'T SCRATCH IT! ...[;o)

Thursday, 23 June 2016

'OPPERS




As it's National Insect Week this week (sorry, a bit late!) I thought I'd do a post on some of the 'smaller' insects that can be found, if you look close enough, in most vegetated habitats.

Hoppers...found in the suborder of Auchenorrhyncha and divided into several families...Frog, Tree, Leaf , Lace, Plant etc....are the tiny bugs that are usually only seen as they hop (there's the clue in the name!) from leaf to leaf, sometimes quite long distances for such a small bug, when disturbed from their resting spots on the vegetation.





I'll start with one of the larger, and more conspicuous, ones...

The Red-and-black Froghopper  (Cercopis vulnerata) is 9-11mm long. Common and widespread throughout Britain where it can be found in woodland rides and open habitats from April to August.



We're all familiar with seeing 'Cuckoo Spit' the white froth found on plant stems almost everywhere, it houses the nymphs of the Common Froghopper  (Philaenus spumaris).

I found some in the garden the other day that had been partially washed away by the rain revealing the small, about 3mm long, nymph inside.


After a short photo session it decided to go for a wander..looks a bit grumpy, I guess it was fed up with me 'flashing' at it?

The adult ( 5-7mm long) doesn't look much happier!
It can be found in variable colour forms from May to October.


This Lacehopper (Tachycixius pilosus) is 4-6mm long and one of the twelve species of lacehoppers that can be found in woodland (leaves) throughout England from May to July.


The next two images are of Leafhoppers of which there are around 285 different species to be found in Britain and Ireland.

Empoasca decipiens and Empoasca vitis are very common and abundant and difficult to tell apart, they are both 3-4mm long and green!  The main visual distinguishing feature is that E. vitis has a clear panel running along the forewings. 

E. decipiens (I think?) can be found in low vegetation from June to December.

E. vitis (I think?) can be found all year round on deciduous trees during the summer and evergreen trees, on which it hibernates, during the winter.


Another, larger, Leafhopper is Idiocerus herrichi. About 6-7mm long, it can be found from August to October on Willows, mainly in southern England.


I think this next one is my all time favourite 'little bug'.

The Horned Treehopper  (Centrotus Cornutus) is one of only two British treehoppers. 5-8mm long, it can be found on herbs and shrubs along woodland rides and similar habitats from April to August.

I think it must have some sort of persecution complex as it has a menacing looking 'face' to the front and....

...for rearward protection, a 'wolf' on it's back!