Tuesday, 26 April 2011

All That Buzzes is Not a Bee

Although still sunny, today was a good bit cooler, especially in places exposed to the rather stiff north-east breeze. Overnight it was mild again and the moth trap was quite busy, included in the catch was a chocolate-tip, pictured below.
There was also my first hawk-moth of the year, a poplar hawk, I upset it a bit trying to get the picture and it went into threat posture showing the spots at the base of the hind-wings, not quite as spectacular as the "eyes" of the eyed hawk-moth, but possibly still enough to surprise a predator.

There are a number of schemes that aim to monitor populations of different insects by the walking of a regular route. The best know are the butterfly transects, but recently similar projects have been started to look at dragonflies and bumble-bees. Today I decided to do my April bumble-bee walk, the route takes about 45 minutes and in all that time I encountered only one bumble-bee!. Had I been doing a dragonfly walk I would have had two species of dragonflies and five species of damselflies to record, including my first broad-bodied chaser of the year. I also saw a good range of hoverflies including the Helophilus trivittatus pictured, it is the largest of three similar species that are all found on the reserve.

I also have a late insect report from yesterday, a species of click-beetle, but not the common brown one, this was mottled and rather wider, I managed to identify it today. Although not a rare species it is a new reserve record, it is Agrypnus murinus.

Birds of note were rather few, a common sandpiper on Ibsley Water first thing seemed to be new as none were reported yesterday. Late in the afternoon it seems that a few swift and house martin had arrived, with a handful of each over Ibsley Water. A willow warbler near the Centre was also new in since yesterday, but will probably be gone tomorrow as this area is not really willow warbler habitat.

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