September 20th continued......
American Sandpipers, Hornets and 'the good wasp'?!
A sunny day (27th) with Jason Nichols began along the coast at Horsey where audio was more prominent than visual, with a Red Deer stag bellowing towards Hickling and Cranes heard, but 3 were seen later. 3 Common Buzzards and 4 Marsh Harriers were also seen before venturing further along the coast.
At Walcott, any passage out at sea was limited to one Sandwich Tern and 2 Swallows flying past, so back along the coast where a Mediterranean Gull was flying overhead with Black-headed Gulls at Waxham.
A Hobby was seen en-route to Buckenham Marshes and an examination of the Ivy patches near the station was a must!
Ivy Bees were once again present in small numbers and a Box Bug was found here again. Two Commas were here along with many of the insect species seen here 13th September 2018, but the highlight was two queen Hornets, an insect I really enjoy photographing and are really quite placid, if treated with understanding and respect.
Nature’s classic yellow and black combination has evolved to put off would-be predators and is something which has been mimicked by other insects. However, although this strategy has worked with the majority of would-be predators (with the exception of specialists e.g. Bee-eaters) it now works against any insects with this colour morphology, as humans (in general) identify this as a ‘wasp’ and therefore something to be destroyed.
This fear and want to destroy the ‘dreaded wasp’ has escalated to the point where this colourisation does not even need to be seen by humans and any insect that makes a buzzing or humming noise or is basically the same shape and size as a wasp species is instantaneously identified as ‘the enemy’ and therefore killed.
An example of this identification, without colour was seen recently when one of my neighbours pointed to a hoverfly in flight (Eristalis tenax) over my garden and said ‘There is a wasp’!
Along with the importance of Bees, the wasp family also require some ‘good press’ as opposed to the ‘bad press’, which they have had for a very long time! Understanding of this very important and fascinating group of insects is an absolute must.
During the Summer I had some jam left over which I no longer wanted, but instead of throwing it in the bin, I emptied the contents out on some paving in the garden. This, as expected attracted many wasps. As I often do, I was sat outside my back door less than eight feet away from the feeding wasps with no danger of getting stung. Similarly, I have photographed Hornets a few inches away on many occasions, building nests and whilst feeding and have never been stung. Knowing how close the wasps will allow you is absolutely essential, but this can be learnt, as the appreciation and respect for these creatures must be too!
A walk along the track leading to the river eventually found both of the Pectoral Sandpipers reported here for several days. 8 Ruff and a Green Sandpiper were also recorded with a Hobby flying over too.
Later, a walk along the path to Ormesby Little Broad at Filby found several Willow Emerald Damselflies and more Hornets, but this time they were all workers. Unfortunately, the visit was once again marred by Pike anglers who had moored their boat right in front of the viewpoint and had their radio on too!
Increase in the Martham pinks......
Pink-footed Geese numbers increased in the vicinity of Martham (22nd), when two skeins passed over SSE, within a few minutes of one another containing approximately 280 and 260 geese.
Comma Possible 10-spot Ladybird
A Wall butterfly was a welcome visitor to the Martham garden (30th) when it was seen perched on the open bathroom window.