Saturday, 6 May 2017

Weekly visit to Cranford Park

I was at the park by 8.30am looking in vain for Little Owls. Not only were they hiding but so were the Buzzards, Kestrels and Red Kites. In fact the only birds making themselves known were the hundreds of singing Wrens, Blackcaps, Whitethroats and Goldfinches, and I couldn't get a photo of any of them.
At least four Swallows went over the stable block and two Pied Wagtails were down by the River Crane.
There are several new nest boxes up now and the one below is on one of the oaks in front of the Information Centre. As you can see it's been occupied by a pair of Blue Tits and all the coming and going tells me they already have hungry chicks to feed......
The other new ones in the Memorial Garden are all empty as far as I can see.
A couple of rabbits were enjoying the empty gardens though.....

Last week I had my first Black-headed Cardinal Beetle of the year and today I saw its cousin, the Common Cardinal Beetle (with a red head rather than a black one)......

and not far away was another Black-headed one.....
The UKBMS butterfly transect was not good today. The sun struggled to break through the clouds, and when the wind picked up it was actually quite cold.
Todays count on the 75 minute walk was a big fat zero.
However the ladybird count was high.....
26 x Harlequins
10 x 7-Spots
15 x 14-Spots


mating 14-spots

mating Harlequins
The high-light of my day was finding 13 hoverfly larvae. They were all in one concentrated area by the stone bridge, and all on nettles. Despite checking several other nettle patches I could not find any others.
I am awaiting confirmation on the species but think this is one of the Eupeodes species....
The little lovely hoverfly below is Leucozona lucorum....

The green metal gates at the Roseville Road end of the underpass were attracting several hoverflies. Possibly the metal was quite warm to rest on.
They were all Syrphus species, and nearly all males.
You can tell a male from a female by the eyes. On males, as below, the eyes meet on top of the head. Female's eyes are separated on the top of the head.

Those were the only two species I spotted today, and was to be expected really given the weather conditions.
So no butterflies, only a handful of hoverflies, lots of ladybirds and this one Large Red Damselfly below.....

Not quite what you would expect in May.
Hopefully next weekend will be better.

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