Saturday, 30 March 2019

A sudden rush

Today was gloriously sunny.  Our friend Pom Boddington had organised a working party to do some maintenance jobs in Byfield Pocket Park and Chris and I went along to help. We were too busy for any wildlife observations although the area was full of bird song. We spent a couple of hours stripping over-enthusiastic ivy from various trees.

It was not until the afternoon that I had time to do any recording, and that was in Stefen Hill Pocket Park. Many insects were on the wing. The sunshine had brought out scores of butterflies although I only saw two species, a Peacock, Inachis io, and lots of Small Tortoiseshells, Aglais urticae.

Small Tortoiseshell basking on short turf. Stefen Hill Pocket Park.
28 March, 2019

A Green Shieldbug, was lurking in a Cherry Plum bush. It was still in a sombre shade of dull green, a sort of khaki colour. In a few weeks it will be a bright leaf green, providing excellent camouflage, hardly needed as its stink glands produce a pungent odour which deters most birds.

Green Shieldbug on Cherry Plum. Stefen Hill Pocket Park.
28 March, 2019
Dozens - probably hundreds - of Dark-edged Bee-flies were around the base of Cherry Plums. Some had paired up to ensure a new generation. The 'dark edge' of the common name refers to the leading edge of the wings. It is by some distance our commonest bee-fly

A Dark-edged Bee-fly at rest. Its long proboscis can be clearly seen.
Stefen Hill Pocket Park, 28 March, 2019
Stefen Hill Pocket Park can in no way be described as flower-rich, and a number of the species present are garden escapes. However I was pleased to find a patch of Greater Stitchwort, Stellaria holostea, beside the park's only pond. It is hardly an exciting find but I will keep an eye on the plants, looking for the gall of the tiny fly, Dasineura holosteae.
Greater Stitchwort showing the deeply cleft petals and grass-like leaves.
Stefen Hill Pocket Park. 28 March, 2019
Many two-winged flies were taken, ensuring that I will be spending an hour or two on the microscope during the next day or so.

No comments:

Post a Comment