30 Days Wild – Day 24

Working with the Blashford volunteers again today, this time a little ragwort control, but not too much, fencing checks before the ponies arrive and a count of the bee orchids along the way. We found over 60, which is a good number for this part of the reserve and a very variable lot they were too.

bee orchid, a pale one
a darker one
a more typical one

The last one looks like a toy duck with a tiny gosling on its head! (or at least it does to me).

Back at the Centre for lunch I noticed the dark mullein is now in flower so went to look for some mullein moth caterpillars, did not find any but got this close up image of one of the flowers.

dark mullein close-up

I had a quick look on the lichen heath near the Pound afterwards when I went to collect parts of one of the rafts that had collapsed after I had been unable to get it in last autumn. These dry, sandy habitats have a whole suite of species that specialise in living on them and coping with the difficult conditions. One of these is the small velvet ant, actually a wingless wasp that parasitises other wasp species that make nest tunnels in the sand.

small velvet ant

Another specialist of sandy habitats is the chafer beetle Anomala dubia, one I had not seen before.

Anomala dubia

We are now firmly into horsefly season and today’s humidity was ideal for them. Many species of the Tabanidae have amazingly patterned and coloured eyes. only the females bite, luckily this Chrysops caecutiens.

Chrysops caecutiens

More wild stuff tomorrow!

1 thought on “30 Days Wild – Day 24

  1. Ha ha ha, can see the duck and duckling, sweet. Those eyes on the Tabanid, I shall be looking out for those to photograph but I tend to steer clear because of fear of getting eaten 😉

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