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 and a new moth species for Portland a Pea Moth (Cydia nigricana).

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, which is a Pea Moth, Cydia nigricana.

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.