Monday, 8 October 2018

Overdue visit to London Wetland Centre

I popped over to the London Wetland Centre yesterday (7th Oct) for a short visit
The usual suspects were about

and I found quite a few critters including one shrub by the Peacock Tower that was covered in Harlequin Ladybirds in various states of development from larva to pupa to adult


There were also plenty of Common Green Shield Bugs out basking in the sun


There were lots of Hawkers inflight all over the reserve but I managed to find one fresh specimen that was perched nicely by the Wildside ponds - I think this is a Migrant Hawker

There were lost of Darters around too - they seemed to like settling on the warmth of the bridges
This is a Common Darter

The first bench as you walk into the Wildside area has always been a good place to spot Common Lizards - there is a hole in the side of the bench and this little beauty was obligingly curled up in it - as the sun warmed the bench so the little lizard popped out to get as much of the sun as possible

Only a short visit but still a good one

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Kingfisher overload at Cranford Park

When I was last at the park earlier this week there were two very active Kingfishers going up and down the River Crane - but I was distracted by the Ivy Bees so didn't linger to see where the birds were going
Today I had a bit more time on my hands so went back to try and get a photograph or two of these beauiful little birds
I started off at the Iron Bridge and walked down towards the M4 so the sun was behind me - but it wasnt until I got near to the Stone Bridge that I could both hear and see the birds
Definitely two birds I told myself and happily watched them from the Stone Bridge trying to second guess where they were going to land
There were certainly favouring the stretch of river between the bridge and the M4 viaduct - I know from previous experience that they often perch on a grate by the viaduct so made my way there and thats when I realised there werent just two Kingfishers but actually FOUR !
I've always suspected they nest along the river after the viaduct where the banks are much higher and the woods are much more secluded and it looks as if Im right as all four birds often flew through the viaduct before re-emerging calling to each other
None of my photos were very good today - it was incredibly hard trying to photograph the birds without moving and spooking them so lots of pictures were taken through swaying branches or from hiding behind a tree trunk
And excuse the complete overload

Spot the Kingfisher




Friday, 28 September 2018

Overdue visit to Cranford CP

For various reasons I havent been to Cranford Park for a while but with the last few warm days of September here I had to pay a visit
There were plenty of birds to see but none that stood still long enough for my camera to focus on - I spotted three Common Buzzards - two Red Kite - two Kingfishers - nice size mixed flock of Long-tailed and Blue Tits - Great Spotted Woodpecker - two Kestrels
The insects and critters were much more obliging on this warm autumnal day - first up was this small stunning Hawthorn Shieldbug

There were a few butterflies about - my last UKBMS transect will be in about two weeks time and that will be it for this year - I will do a blog covering the species seen this season nearer the time
Large White

Red Admiral underwing

 I saw more Ladybirds today than I did during the heatwave - the majority were 7-spots but there was the odd Harlequin around too


Harleqiun - note the brown legs - a good id feature for these non native bugs

Harlequin larva
Not too many hoverflies around and the only species I could find was feeding on flowering ivy - the Batman hoverfly - Myathropa Florea
The warm still day meant there were lots of dragonflies around - this is one of the Hawker speices probably a Southern Hawker

and there were plenty of Common Darters all over the park

The little critter below was only about an inch long - it's one of the Conehead species

 There were still some Oak galls visible - the tiny pinholes you can see are where the parasitic wasp has burrowed out of the gall after spending the first part of its life inside it as a grub

The high-light of my visit though was finding a fourth colony of Ivy Bees - I found my first colony two years ago by the orchard - this fourth colony is much smaller and was by the river

These attractive bees are a little larger than our common Honey Bees - and with much more brighter yellowy orange and black bands - they were first recorded in the UK in 2001 in Dorset and have since spread pretty much all over Britain - In 2001 the BWARS (Bees Wasps and Ants Recording Scheme) strated monitoring sites where they were spotted and they continue to ask for any sightings to be submitted
The flight period for this lovely little bee coincides with when our common ivy comes into flower so they are normally seen early September to late October - it is well worth checking any patch of flowering ivy no matter how big or small it is