30 Days Wild – Day 11: Various Insects

Still a windy day but none the less quite warm in the sun, so if you could find some shelter it was very pleasant. The kind of day to go looking for insects making the most of exactly such places. In the garden the moth trap had one new species for the year, a varied coronet.

varied coronet

varied coronet

This moth was known only as a scarce migrant until about 70 years ago when it started to breed in Kent, since when it has spread widely, although I don’t often catch it myself.

I found a number of insects around the garden warming themselves including a number of hoverflies.

Merodon equestris

Merodon equestris

This one looks like a bumblebee in an effort to be left alone by birds, it is also known as the greater bulb-fly as the larvae feed on bulbs, it is not a favourite with many gardeners.

By the pond I found an unfortunate broad-bodies chaser that had emerged but failed to get its wings properly expanded, it will never fly, after a year of development in the pond it had failed at the last hurdle.

unfortunate Libellula depressa

unfortunate dragonfly

In the afternoon I ventured out into the New Forest for a short walk. Again it was the sheltered clearings that harboured the most wildlife and in one patch of sunlight I spotted a humming-bird hawk-moth, luckily it landed allowing me to get a picture.

humming-bird hawk-moth

humming-bird hawk-moth

There were also hoverflies, although not so many as in the garden. On one sunny logs I found a specimen of Xylota abiens.

Xylota abiens
Xylota abiens

These hoverflies almost never visit flowers, but are often seen sunning themselves or moving over leaves, they may find the food they need from honeydew on leaves rather than nectar from flowers. This individual ahs picked up a hitch-hiker in the form of a tiny red mite which you can just make on the top of the thorax.

I also found one dragonfly, this time a recently emerged keeled skimmer.

keeled skimmer close up

keeled skimmer close-up

This close-up shows how the front legs are not used for standing, but held up behind the head ready to be used for manipulating prey to allow feeding in flight.

30 Days Wild – Day 26

A day in the garden, although intermittent and eventually persistent rain forced me inside at times. I had intended to try and get pictures of  as many hoverflies as I could, but in the end I only got three! There were lots of the migrant marmalade hoverfly (Episyrphus balteatus).

Episyrphus balteatus

Episyrphus balteatus the marmalade hoverfly

The large number of Alliums are attracting lots of greater bulb fly (Merodon equestris).

Merodon equestris

Merodon equestris cleaning its face

My best was a species I have only seen ion the garden a few times, the large and rather impressive Sericomyia silentis.

Sericomyia silentis

Sericomyia silentis

It favours boggy ground and is especially common in the north and west of Britain, but locally it is fairly common in the New Forest.

The above pictures were all I managed in the few minutes of sunshine. In looking for the hoverflies I could not help but notice that many of the flowers were covered in tiny beetles, I think they are pollen beetles, some of the evening primrose flowers had dozens of them.

pollen beetles

pollen beetles