4 Jul 18

Mermaid Track, Rufus Castle, St Andrews Church and Pennsylvania Castle Wood

After weeks of drought and hot sunny days, the heavens finally opened last night and early this morning. The rest of the day felt considerably cooler and very welcome, especially as the cloud cover didn't budge apart from the occasional break when the sun tried to come out but disappeared as the cloud rolled in off the sea.

Apart from the lack of any "blue" butterflies, it was very much the same with dozens of Marbled Whites and Ringlets on the wing. There appears to be fewer Meadow Browns about, however what was noticeable were several Gatekeepers flitting about in the brambles.

It's quite noticeable how butterflies appear at different times throughout Spring and Summer. In fact today I saw quite a few Red Admirals, especially on the Buddleia, which seem to have burst into flower over night.

No Small Tortoiseshells about, but I did get one Peacock. Also seen were 2 Large Whites and a Small White.

On my walk I came across at least 4 Silver Y moths, 2 Mother Shipton's, 3 Six-spot Burnet Moths and one moth to ID. I also came across a caterpillar suspended by a thread, not sure if its moth caterpillar or that of a sawfly.

As always many bees about, especially Red-tailed Cuckoo-bees (Bombus rupestris). They are very numerous on Portland. Also about good numbers of Common Carder Bee (Bombus pascuorum) and Small Garden Bumblebee (Bombus hortorum).

A Common Wasp (Vespula vulgaris) was seen in the grounds of St Andrew's Church and in Penn's wood I came across the smallest ichneumon wasp I have ever seen. If indeed it was one. At least I managed a couple of photos of it!!

The cooler weather saw an increase in hoverflies especially Marmalade hoverflies (Episyrphus balteatus). Also recorded were Long Hoverfly (Sphaerophoria scripta), Chequered hoverfly (Melanostoma scalare) and a new species for me a Helophilus trivittatus

The first time in ages I came across 2 Bloody-nosed Beetles (Timarcha tenebricosa), unfortunately only one live one.

Other bugs and things recorded were Common Red Soldier Beetles (Rhagonycha fulva), Dark Bush-cricket (Pholidoptera griseoaptera), Common Field Grasshopper (Chorthippus brunneus), Common Green Grasshopper (Omocestus viridulus), Harlequin ladybird (Harmonia axyridis), Common Green Shieldbug 3rd instar nymph (Palomena prasina), what I think is one of the Tenebrionidae - Darkling beetles (Lagria hirta) and one very odd beetle-looking bug which turns out to be an Ectobius pallidus (The Tawny Cockroach)

Here are a few images from this afternoon:

A Gatekeeper with wings closed.

Another wings open.

A Meadow Brown

Small Skipper

As above

And again

And another worn specimen this time.

A few Red Admirals out now.

Long Hoverfly (Sphaerophoria scripta)

This is the Hoverfly, Helophilus trivittatus. Told by its very lemon coloured side patches. More on this hoverfly Here.
A moth sp.

And one of those hanging caterpillars.........

.........which eventually dropped onto a leaf. Moth or Sawfly I'm not sure.

Common Green Grasshopper (Omocestus viridulus)

Harlequin Ladybird

And a sequence of photos showing the great effort this Bloody-nosed Beetle took in its efforts to get to the the top of this grass stem.
Up he goes........

.......and then decides to head back down.........

......before changing its mind........

........and decides to climb to the top.

A Common Red Soldier Beetle.

Common Green Shieldbug 3rd instar nymph (Palomena prasina)

Well I'm stumped on this one. What ever it is it moves at lightening speed. Turns out it's an Ectobius pallidus (The Tawny Cockroach). And there I was thinking you would only ever see a cockroach indoors!

A possible Lagria hirta. More on this beetle Here 

Well I thought this was a small fly and I mean small. But when it took off.........

.......I was surprised to see that it wasn't a fly, but probably the smallest ichneumon wasp I have ever encountered. If indeed its an ichneumon!