Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Bugs, Bugs, Bugs

HEADLINE: black colonel soldierfly (new to the reserve)

The day was cloudy, but despite this the interesting records of the day were all insects. At the Centre pond several of the hoverfly, Anasimyia transfuga were sitting around on flowers and trying to warm up on the boardwalk. This is a species of vegetated pools often with reedmace, the appearance of so many of them was a prelude to further species of the same habitat.
After taking the picture of the hoverfly I was bemoaning the fact that while we have hoverflies of marshy habitats we are very poorly off for soldierflies, many of which live in the same types of places. As I said this a fly landed on my hand and it was a soldierfly, what was more a new species for the reserve and one that is quite local to boot. It was Odontomyia tigrina, also called the black colonel and it lives in just the same places as the hoverfly.

I looked around to see if it was a one off, although I could find no more around the pond there were lots of insects around, the conditions were warm enough to tempt them out but not so warm as to make them really active. Amongst other things I found my first Volucella pellucens of the year, one of the easiest of all hoverflies to identify.

Later I looked on the shore of Ivy Lake in an area we cleared last winter and there I found several more black colonels, clearly they are now doing well on site despite having gone unseen previously. I also came across a rather brilliant beetle one of the leaf beetles, possibly Donacia vulgaris.

On Ibsley Water the lapwing pair still have two chicks and the oystercatcher is still sitting on eggs. On Ivy Lake the great crested grebe pair are still feeding their two chicks well and the common terns are now mostly sitting on eggs, there are certainly sixteen pairs, and probably eighteen.

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