16 Jun 18

Rufus Castle, St Andrews Church and Pennsylvania Castle Wood

I've not done this walk for quite awhile, so despite the windy conditions it was off on my travels to see what was about. There's a short cut I take to the cliff top just pass the old Mermaid Public House and I'm glad I opted for this route, as the first beetle I came across was a Spotted Longhorn  (Rutpela maculata) or Black & Yellow Longhorn as its often called.

A bit further along the track I came across the empty shell casing of a Bloody-nosed Beetle (Timarcha tenebricosa) and was the only specimen of this species, albeit dead, that I found. My last walk here produced quite a few.

On the way down the steps from from Rufus Castle to Church Ope Cove an ichneumon wasp flew past me and into the bushes. I have seen this ichneumon wasp before but it's one that I've still not identified beyond one of the Heteropelma species.

Also here were a family party of Long-tailed Tits, all busy feeding in amongst the Sycamores in the copse half-way down the steps. In total there 7 juveniles and the 2 adult birds.

A slight diversion onto the cliff top overlooking Church Ope Cove and I came across a Mimic Bee Hoverfly (Volucella bombylans). Its funny that I'm finding more V. bombylans than the "white-tailed" V. plumata. A similar thing happens with both Common Drone Flies and Tapered Drone Flies, the latter (Eristalis pertinax) always come out later in the year than (Eristalis tenax).

In the grounds of St Andrew's Church I acme across 2 Six-spot Burnet Moths (Zygaena filipendulae) settled in the grass, whilst on a large leafy plant (well what was left of it I came across a dozen or so caterpillars of this nationally scarce moth The Mullein moth (Cucullia verbasci). More on this moth Here.

Still in the church grounds I came across the aptly named Rose Chafer on the flower of a Dog Rose.

Here are a few images from my walk:

This is a Spotted Longhorn (Rutpela maculata), also know as the Black and Yellow Longhorn. This species can often be seen feeding on nectar on the flower heads such as hogweed or cow parsley. The larvae feed on rotting tree stumps, especially birch and pine.

An ichneumon wasp I have come across before, but not beyond one of the Heteropelma species.

One of the 7 juvenile Long-tailed Tits in the copse half-way down the steps to Church Ope Cove from Rufus Castle.

Lovely to see a family party of 7 juvenile Long-tailed Tits and the adults in the copse, half-way the steps from Rufus Castle to Church Ope Cove.

This is Rock Stonecrop (Sedum forsterianum), with Pennsylvania Castle in the background. This flower is yet to open, so I will be back when it does. More on this flower Here

Having seen quite a few Mimic Bee Hoverflies (Volucella plumata) it is now seems to be the turn of Volucella bombylans to put in an appearance. This one was above the north cliff of Church Ope Cove.

The very lush green grounds of St Andrew's Church

In the church grounds I came across 2 Six-spot Burnet Moths...........

.........and these very colourful caterpillars.......

........and they belong to........

......The Mullein Moth (Shargacucullia verbasci). These are in their final stages of development as caterpillars and will be pupating soon.

Appropriately named this Rose Chafer (Cetonia auata) is on the flower of a Dog Rose, in the grounds of St Andrew's Church.

A White-lipped Banded Snail (Cepaea hortensis) the nettles in Penn's wood