The Bull-headed and the Wrong-headed

It’s always good to know that people read these postings and occasionally take the trouble to help us out with identification, so thanks to Robert Painton for adding a comment identifying  the Ichneuman wasp from Thursday. It appears to be  Diplazon laetorius  which apparently is a parasite of hoverfly lava  and is one of the most widespread ichneumonid having been recorded from Canadian Arctic to Argentina, from Norway to South Africa and Japan to New Zealand including many remote oceanic Islands. —- So not a Blashford Lakes speciality then!!

Todays speciality catch was this rather splendid beetle ( I think I’m alright so far on the identification!) which was lurking near the bottom of an otherwise fairly unoccupied light trap. With its huge shoulder pads and battering ram like appendages, I hope I’m right in identifying this as a Minotaur beetle ( Typhaeus typhoeus).

Minotaur beetle from light trap

One of the group of Dor Beetles – dung feeders, who provide food for their young by laying their eggs on the dung they bury. The literature indicates they specialise in rabbit droppings.  The interesting name of these beetles presumably refers to the horns which give them an appearance analogous to the mythological creature with the body of a   man and  the head of a bull

The other ‘star’ in the moth trap was this rather strikingly colourful Green-brindled Crescent. 

Green-brindled Crescent

Our regular Saturday volunteer, Jacki, was in again today and as there had been reports of reeds encroaching on the path up to Lapwing Hide, we set off to clear this back, stopping briefly at the hide to check out the bird life.  Whilst there was not a lot around apart from coot and tufted duck we thought at first we had the great white egret in view on the far side, but it turned out to be only a little egret.  How things change – it’s not so long ago when this would have been an exciting sighting.

When we got back to near the Centre, one of our regular visitors came rushing up to report an injured great crested grebe, on the ground  near the entrance to the water-ski centre.  The bird was obviously distressed and waddling around, only finding some relief when it waded into a large puddle. With four of us there it proved fairly easy to corner it and I managed to grab it – fortunately I was wearing the stout gloves I’d taken with me for cutting back the reeds.   The bird didn’t appear to be obviously injured so we decided to release it onto Ellingham Pound, as a relatively quiet and easy reachable body of water. Once released it swam away, dived then popped up several metres further out, bobbed up, flapped its wings then continued swimming away. I’m fairly confident it had somehow got itself grounded and then couldn’t take off but was otherwise O.K.   These birds aren’t designed to walk, their legs are too far back on their bodies, so what looked like an injured bird was really only one that couldn’t cope with walking.

Little lost Great Crested Grebe and ‘friend’

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