Friday, 3 June 2011

Linacre - 3rd June 2011 - Butterflies, Bees and Damselflies!!

When I first started visiting Linacre on a regular basis it was primarily to enjoy and record the bird life around the reservoirs. Very quickly, however, I realised that there was a lot more to this area than just the birds. At the this time of the year the birds around the site tend to be be pretty quiet and it is at these time that I turn my attention to the much smaller inhabitants, namely the invertebrates.

With the temperatures hitting an amazing 24 degrees Celsius for two consecutive days I thought today was the day to start this year's "bug hunt" and I was to be rewarded  with some lovely sightings and a new species for me and for Linacre.

The first species I want to show you is the new one for me and is called a Red-and-Black Froghopper.

Red-and Black Froghopper

Froghoppers or "spittle bugs" are species that lay their eggs on a grass stem. When the young hatch they blows bubbles out of their bottoms to create a froth which is also known as "cuckoo spit" and acts as a defence against predators. As I said before this is a new species for me and, as far as I know, for Linacre. I saw a total of 6 individuals around the top reservoir today.

There are lots of different bee and hoverfly species around Linacre, most of which I can't correctly identify(!), but here are a couple of pictures of some that I think I've identified correctly.

White-tailed Bumblebee

Common Carder Bee

Also seen today was a Mayfly, which I think is a Drake Mackerel ...

Mayfly "Drake Mackerel"

6 Small Copper buterflies and my first damselfly of the year, a teneral or newly emerged Common Blue Damselfly. As you can see from the photograph the damselfly isn't blue yet, which tells me it is newly emerged. The blue colour should develop over the next day or so.

Small Copper

Common Blue Damselfly

Other species of butterfly seen today included a single Speckled Wood, 2 Peacocks and 1 Small White. A butterfly larvae was found feeding on a nettle and is either a Peacock or a Small Tortoiseshell.

Butterfly larvae

All in all, a great start to the season, with hopefully lots more to tell you about as the summer progresses.

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