May 22nd continued......
Orange-tip Speckled Wood Comma
Comma Wasp Beetle Tachina fera
Nomada flava Carder Bumblebee Helophilus pendulus
Cheilosia variabius Parhelophilus frutetorum/versicolor Queen Hornet
Butterflies, Dragonflies & Insects with primitive traits in the Brecks.......
Foulden Common was the first destination (24th), with Jason Nichols today and both Dingy (10+) and Grizzled Skippers (5) were good to see again and other butterflies included several male and female Brimstones and the first Common Blue, Green Hairstreak and Large Skipper of 2018.
Dragonflies also featured here and included 4 Hairy Dragonfly, 3 Broad-bodied Chaser and a Four-spotted Chaser.
Garden Chafers were commonly seen along with the first Swollen-thighed Beetles, queen Hornet and the very colourful Small Purple and Gold.
Small Gorse Mining Bees Andrena ovatula were visiting the Gorse flowers and a very dark bee-fly would appear to be a melanistic Dark-edged Bee-fly.
Mating pairs of flies were seen low in the vegetation, in the more open areas and would appear to be a very rare Hoverfly Microdon devius.
A Cuckoo was calling, Garden Warblers, Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs were singing and a Great Spotted Woodpecker flew over, whilst a Muntjac was out in the open on the common and several Common Lizards scurried away in the grass.
On to Santon Downham and a walk along the Little Ouse, where it was great to see Mayflies over the water and perched in the riverside vegetation, predominately on Comfrey, possibly Russian Comfrey a hybrid between Common and Rough Comfrey, growing in profusion alongside the path.
The Mayflies here were identified as Drake Mackerel Mayflies Ephemera vulgata. Mayflies are a very ancient group of insects, dating back to the Lower Cretaceous, with primitive traits probably relating to the earliest forms of flying insects. Mayflies are the only flying insects, which go through a second moult. The subimago (the flying form which emerges from the final instar of the aquatic nymph, known to fly fishermen as ‘duns’) then moults to an imago (full adult form-spinners to fly fishermen) after leaving the water.
The other highlight here were the metallically-resplendent Banded Demoiselles, their fluttering flight over slow-moving streams a joy to behold, Large Red and Common Blue Damselflies were also seen and a Lacewing, possibly Chrysopa perla was also seen near what appeared to be the white flowering Common Comfrey.
A pair of Mandarin resting on a fallen tree branch in the river was the bird highlight and a Grey Wagtail was heard. Orange-tip and Speckled Wood were of note here also, along a beautiful stretch of river.
However, what a shame a sandstone path has been laid making the area even more accessible, particularly to dog walkers. Ironic that there are signs up indicating rare birds breeding requesting people not to go off the paths, but obviously that does not apply to dogs off the lead and is it just me that can smell dog excreta nearly everywhere I go nowadays? The accessibility to allow animals and humans into the countryside, which do not belong and which can be very detrimental has just gone too far!