I had a public event to look at moths today, a pretty tricky thing to do as there were almost no moths in the trap! Luckily Jim had kept a few back in the fridge from yesterday. Still it was thin fare, as sometimes happens at this time of year when the nights can still be cold. Despite this by the time we had finished the sun was out strongly and there were lots of insects about, although few of them were moths.
Near the Centre pond there were a few hoverflies including the common marshland species Tropida scita.
Rather less common and possibly a new species for the reserve, but I will need to check the list, was Pipizella virens.
Just when I thought it was going to be a really good insect day, the rain arrived and when it rained it really poured! I retreated to the office, probably something I should have done anyway.
It did clear up somewhat later and a visitor called my attention to a water stick insect in the Centre pond, it had pulled itself out of the water onto the top of a floating bit of plant stem. Close by were several two-pronged “things” sticking out of the stem, I had noticed these earlier and not known what they were. It slowly dawned that they were water stick insect eggs and this was a laying female inserting her eggs into the floating stem.
Each egg has two white “wires” sticking up from it, their function is apparently unknown, but could be a sort of breathing tube for the developing embryo. This female did not get to lay eggs for very long, before a male came along and disturbed her, as she tried to get away he grabbed her breathing tube with his front legs, he seemed very keen not to let her free.
I had never seen any of this behaviour before, although I have looked into this pond probably thousands of times, it just shows that you don’t need to go very far to see interesting and new things.
Apart from insects the day was quiet, certainly the birds seen were mostly unremarkable. There were about 300 swift over Ibsley Water during the lunchtime rain and 2 yellow-legged gull in the large group of, mostly immature, large gulls loafing around on the shingle spit and islands.
I seem to learn something new every week on this blog! As you say, fascinating goings on are all around us, if we can but notice.
Wow.. Fascinating stuff about the stick insect