Furrows on the thistle.....
Furrow Bees had been seen coming to the yellow flowers of Perennial Sow-Thistle Sonchus arvensis in Benji’s Meadow in the garden at Burgh Castle since the 15th August and after some more images were taken today (20th) their identity appears to have been discovered.
Two species of these very small bees have been visiting the garden: Common Furrow Bee Lagioglossum calceatum and Least Furrow Bee Lasioglossum minutissimum. A maximum of 8 Common have been seen, but only one (but on several occasions) of the Least Furrow Bee, which as its name suggests it is very small, in fact about half the size of the common! The first record (knowingly) for both species in the garden.
Also seen today was a very small but colourful moth, which was later identified as a Small Purple and Gold Pyrausta aurata, favouring the purple/blue Salvias in the border at least to perch on.
Common Furrow Bees Least Furrow Bee
Common and Least Furrow Bees
Small Purple and Gold
At last, Groundhoppers.....
First stop of the day (24th) with Jason Nichols was Dunwich Heath, where at least 3 adult and a juvenile Dartford Warbler were seen. 2 Stonechats, 2 Chiffchaff, Sand Martins flying low over the heath, a Common Buzzard being mobbed by crows and a Green Woodpecker heard calling were also recorded.
Last year, a visit around this time to Hen Reedbeds had found a good amount of Sea Aster growing and where there is Sea Aster in this region, along the east coast there may also be Sea Aster Bees Colletes halophilus.
A visit there was very fruitful and after a bit of persistent fieldwork was put in it resulted in finding two species of Groundhopper; Common Groundhopper Tetrix subulata and Slender Groundhopper T. undulata. There was far more of the slender than the common but finally (I have been looking for groundhoppers for a while), this was my first encounter with these tiny Orthoptera and will stand in good stead for finding these in the future.
Short-winged Coneheads were found in the damper areas near the reeds and both Lesser Marsh and Field Grasshoppers were also found.
A few, Small White were seen, as were Small Heath, one of which was on a flower with a reddish larva (possibly Lime-speck Pug pers com. Ken Saul).
Hoverflies included the very striking Chrysotoxum festivum and Syrphus ribesii and days in recent months would not be complete without a Tachinid Fly in this case Eriothrix rufomaculata.
Some Sea Aster was in flower, although there is much more to come and occasionally these flowers would be visited by a Colletes species. Colletes species tend to be associated with a particular plant, timing their emergence to coincide with the flowering of their ‘preferred’ plant, so it would not be unreasonable to assume these Colletes were C. Halophilus. However, the identification of bees (without doing an autopsy) along with many more genera is still very much on a learning curve but knowledge accrued also assists, at these times and animals (particularly insects) not on the ‘correct’ plant is one thing time has taught to beware of. Therefore, at this time the identification of the Colletes species visiting the sea aster will have to wait, but the bees photographed appear to be C. fodiens.
The cleptoparasite Variegated Cuckoo Bee Epeolus variegatus was found here and a Common Sandpiper along the Blyth was the first seen this year (too busy with insects!) and both Bearded Reedlings and a Water Rail were heard in the reeds.
Final stop of the day was at Carlton Marshes, where 3 Fen Raft Spiders were found, including a female with an egg sac and a Water Vole was seen in one of the dykes.
Small Heath & poss' Lime-speck Pug larvae Chrysotoxum festivum Syrphus ribesii
Dunwich Heath Dartford Warbler Stonechat