19 Jun 18

Rufus Castle, St Andrews Church and Pennsylvania Castle Wood

The same route as yesterday, though that couldn't be said for the weather which though was really humid was a mixture of thick Fog and hot sunny breaks. Really bizarre!

This particular route is certainly one of my best to date, with new "bug" species turning up daily. Today was no exception with a few more new species to add to my ever growing Port and Wey list. A Fabricius' Nomad Bee (Nomada fabriciana) was great to find in the grounds of St Andrew's Church. That is now Gooden's Nomad Bee (Nomada goodeniana), Marsham's Nomad Bee (Nomada marshamella), Flavous Nomad Bee (Nomada flava) and now Fabricius' Nomad Bee (Nomada fabriciana) recorded on Portland.

An interesting wasp I recorded was my first ever Box-headed Mason-wasp (Gymnomerus laevipes), though I did have other thoughts as to what it could have been. Thank you to Tim Struddock on the UK Bees, Wasps and Ants Facebook Group for the ID.

On the butterfly front I had several Ringlets, Meadow Heaths, Common Blues, 3 Large Skippers, 2 Small Skippers, 2 Lulworth Skippers, 2 Commas, 4 Large Whites, 2 Small Whites, 2 Green-veined Whites, a Dingy Skipper and my first Small Heath of the year.

A few moths about with a Six-spot Burnet moth, several Twin-barred Knot-horns (Homoeosoma sinuella) and one to ID.

The or a different Wasp Beetle was very close to one I saw yesterday in the grounds of St Andrew's Church, where I also found an unusual wasp which I reckon is probably a Potter Wasp or something similar.

I also came across a Dark Bush-cricket, Swollen-thighed Beetles, White-lipped Banded Snails (not found another Brown-lipped yet!), a caterpillar of what I'm now convinced is that of a Six-spot Burnet moth, a Black-horned Gems (Microchrysa polita) or is it in fact a Broad Centurian (Chloromyia formosa), one of the Cheilosia sp. flies, a Mullein moth caterpillar and my first Tiger Cranefly (Nephrotoma flavescens) on Portland. I'm surprised I've not come across more.

And finally a new fly a Herina nigrina

Here are a few images:

Down the Mermaid Track a few White-lipped Banded Snails.

A Large Skipper

Dark Bush-cricket, Pholidoptera griseoaptera

A very dingy Dingy Skipper

My first Small Heath this year. Hopefully more to the follow and better photos as well.

A Ringlet. Many on the wing now, with several in the grounds of St Andrew's Church

A Small Skipper

I'm beginning to consider that this is actually the caterpillar of the Six-spot Burnet moth. Very similar to the Five-spot Burnet moth caterpillar, I have yet to see a Five-spot Burnet moth on Portland.

A moth sp.

....taking off.......

........and lift off.

A Speckled Wood

A Twin-barred Knot-horn, Homoeosoma sinuella

And another one.

Now what's happened here!!

Fetch Ted. It looks like human intervention has dislodged a boulder from under Rufus Castle.

Stone me how did that get there!!

I think this is a Black-horned Gems, Microchrysa polita. Not dissimilar to a Broad Centurian, Chloromyia formosa or maybe it is!!

And finally a Lulworth Skipper. Not bad 4 skippers in one outing.

This spot here has produced Lulworth Skippers on the 3 occasions I have been here.

Ah yes that boulder from the other side. Ted is not impressed.

A Cheilosia sp. There are quite a few very similar species.

A Meadow Brown. Lots of these on the wing.

A Large White which I thought was a Marbled White until I tracked it down.

Only the one Mullein moth caterpillar found today............

......and he's making short work of this leaf.

My first Tiger Cranefly (Nephrotoma flavescens) on Portland. I'm surprised I've not come across more.

The same/different Wasp Beetle (Clytus arietis) in almost the same spot as yesterday in the grounds of St Andrew's Church.

A slightly different view across the grounds of St Andrew's Church.

I cannot believe I am struggling with this..........

.......initially I thought it was a Clearwing, which would have been a cracking find. I'm now thinking that it is a species of Potter Wasp or something similar. In fact it is a male Box-headed Mason-wasp (Gymnomerus laevipes). When I was trying to ID this I dismissed this one as the stripes on "mine" were in pairs whereas all the images I came across of Gymnomerus laevipes the stripes were 4 or more and not paired. I guess there can be lots of of variations.

I'm well pleased with this one. I've had quite a few nomad bees and this is another a Fabricius' Nomad Bee (Nomada fabriciana).

Not sure what this fly is, but it was busy "flapping" its wings.

It turns out that is a Herina nigrina

It is a fairly local species, usually associated with good quality grasslands.

And one I will never ID, but I just love the pose it gave as it perched itself on top of a brick wall.

I said it was humid and these two felt it today. Ted and Benji.

18 Jun 18

Rufus Castle, St Andrews Church and Pennsylvania Castle Wood

This particular walk via the old  Mermaid Pub is proving to be quite interesting, especially when the sun comes out like today. The short path Here from Wakeham takes you through to the coast path and is a haven for all sorts of insects.

Today there were Common Carder Bee (Bombus pascuorum), Red-tailed Cuckoo-bee (Bombus rupestris) and Three-banded White-tailed Bumblebees (Bombus hortorum) feeding on the Viper's Bugloss (Echium vulgare), of which there are quite a few. I also came across my first Spined Mason Bee (Osmia spinulosa) in the copse half-way down the steps from Rufus Castle.

Several butterfly species were on the wing with my first Ringlet of the year, a tatty Red Admiral, a very worn Dingy Skipper, 2 Lulworth Skippers, a Common Blue and several Meadow Browns. I also came across a Six-spot Burnet Moth again in the grounds of St Andrews Church.

Also recorded were 2 Mimic Bee Hoverflies (Volucella bombylans), 2 Rose Chafers (Cetonia aurata) and some firsts for me on Portland a Wasp Beetle (Clytus arietis), along with a probable Sawfly (Tenthredopsis coquebertii), a Conopidae Fly (Sicus ferrugineus) and two of the Cheilosia hoverflies.

There was a nice surprise in the grounds of St Andrew's Church with a few Mullein Moth caterpillars on the same plant they were seen on two days ago, but were absent from yesterday. Where did they go!

Here are a few images from my walk:

This track behind the old Mermaid Pub is proving to be a little haven for butterflies, bees and bugs. Lots of protection from the wind and when the sun comes out it becomes a little hot spot.

At first I thought this was an Ichneumon Wasp but in fact it is a sawfly and most probably Tenthredopsis coquebertii which is found in hedgerows and well vegetated areas in the southern half of Britain. Thank you to David Notton on the UK Bees, Wasps and Ants Facebook Group for the ID

What I first thought was a fly...........

.........is in fact a hoverfly.

And is one of the Cheilosia species.

This one is a different Cheilosia species than the one above. Thank you to Paul Beuk on the UK Diptera Facebook Group for the ID.

A very worn Dingy Skipper, Erynnis tages

A Lulworth Skipper, and one of our smallest butterflies in the UK.

A Rose Chafer. I came across two of these today.

A Mimic Bee Hoverfly, Volucella bombylans. I've not seen a V. plumata for a few days now.

A lovely little bee and is a Spined Mason Bee, Osmia spinulosa. Thank you to Nick Franklin on the UK Bees, Wasps and Ants Facebook Group for the ID
Today's winner for the oddest looking "beastie" goes to this one.

A really odd looking fly........

.......and is a Sicus ferrugineus. More on this fly here.

Another Lulworth Skipper, Thymelicus acteon. More on this small butterfly Here.

The view across Church Ope Cove.

St Andrew's Church

The archway at St Andrew's Church just behind the velarian.

My first Ringlet of the year in the grounds of St Andrew's Church

Also here a tatty Red Admiral........

.......and a Six-spot Burnet Moth.

Talking about moths, I found a few Mullein moth caterpillars on the same plant that yesterday was completely void of them!

Also in the grounds in the nettles I came across this Wasp Beetle, Clytus arietis.

Penn's wood was alive with Speckled Wood butterflies, hoverflies and this very small moth. Not sure if this is one I'm going to be able to ID.

At first I thought these were dead flower heads..........

........however they are the complete opposite and about to flower. This is Ivy Broomrape, Orobanche hederae (Thank you to Edmund Mackrill for the ID). This plant has no chlorophyll and is totally reliant on ivy to survive. More on this parasitic plant Here.