Monday, 11 June 2018

The blog is back

I'm back!  I've had no camera since my last blog post and although I went down the road of getting them (I had three dslr bodies) repaired rather than buy a new one it appears it was not to be 
Unlike some bloggers I have to have photos on my blog and taking the photos is part of what I do so I have been at a complete loss
Recently I was invited to attend an 'off piste' insect experience at Maple Lodge NR just like last year but I felt I had to decline as I had no camera
Emily and Sharon (two of the insect experts at Maple Lodge) between them lent me a camera body and macro lens - which I am eternally grateful for - so my day out for yesterday 10th June went ahead
I also need to apologise for my punctuation in this post though as it appears my 'full stop' and 'comma' buttons are stuck !! The keyboard needs a proper clean up
But back to yesterday - as I left Hayes to make the journey to Maple Cross it was overcast and a little cool - I did wonder if I would be too cold in my t-shirt and waterproof trousers and welly boots - but as I walked on to the reserve the clouds cleared and the sun appeared
We started out in front of the Rotunda hide
The marsh orchids are still in full bloom

The high-light of the day for me was finding so many Water Ladybirds - this is a first for me although they've been noted on site for some years - so please exscuse the overload of photos

Not a bad view when you're down in the reeds

Also in abundance were the hundreds of Mint Beetles

Plus thousands of damselflies

I found a Garden Chafer which played dead until I went to pick it up - when it decided to drop to the ground and disappear

There was a Cinnabar moth flitting around the orchids

and Martin played hide and seek with some skimmers and dragonflies

As to be expected at this time of year there were plenty of exuvia to be found - these are the empty shells left behind when a dragonfly or skimmer or chaser emerges

Another species of ladybird found was this nice fresh 22-spot

Emily found a newly emerged Darter - this beauty hadnt even dried it's wings out yet

and I flushed a female Black-tailed Skimmer

Other critters seen today was this Small Magpie moth which displayed it's typical behaviour of flying to the underneath of a leaf

and the commonly seen Dock Bug

Also as to be expected were the few harlequin ladybird larvae

along with plenty of adult 7-spot ladybird

There was another species of shieldbug around - the delightfully named Hairy Shieldbug

Another first ever for me were the many Ruby-tailed Wasps by the long screen - but it was near on impossible to get an infocus photo

This beetle is the Golden-bloomed Grey Longhorn (thanks to Martin for the id)

I've never used a lure but Sharon had a couple so we placed them in a couple of strategic places - one of them attracted a beauty within twenty minutes - a stunning Red-belted Clearwing

They are only seen betwenn mid June to early August - The adults are occasionally seen flying around apple trees in the afternoon and the he caterpillars can be found feeding underneath the bark of the foodplant from August to the following May, overwintering as larvae
The day was over too quickly but I had a wonderful time - it was so nice to have a camera in my hands again and I cannot thank Emily and Sharon enough - big thanks also to Martin for taking the time to escort us all

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