I was over at Blashford this afternoon, although I was mostly confined to the office, luckily there were people who were not. There was a school group in and they made a couple of good finds. Whilst pond dipping they found a downy emerald dragonfly that had fallen back into the water, they rescued it and put it to dry on plants beside the pond.
downy emerald drying
I took the opportunity to get a few really close up shots as well, like this head-shot, it really is “downy” and “emerald”!
downy emerald close up
The dragonfly was not their only find though, they also found a very fine ground beetle, Carabus granulatus.
Not only is it also a rather splendid metallic sheened insect but it also has wonderful sculpturing on the elytra (wing cases).
As I was outside to take the pictures and the sun was out I had a quick look around the pond area and found two Rhingia campestris, a common hoverfly with and extraordinary long “snout”.
Rhingia campestris male
The female was very fat, presumably full of eggs.
Rhingia campestris female
Birds reported today were at least 10 swift over Ibsley Water, 3 common sandpiper, over 30 common tern and 2 Arctic tern also on Ibsley Water.
Bird News: Ibsley Water – common gull 2, Mediterranean gull 4, wheatear 1.
Very little to report today as I was not on site for long. Two first summer common gulls on Ibsley Water first thing were unusual for Blashford at this time of year. Later in the morning 4 Mediterranean gulls flew over, 2 adults and 2 first summer birds, there have been several just visiting this year but so far they do not seem to be hanging around.
The day started decidedly iffy, but improved steadily until by lunchtime the sun was out and it was really warm. This tempted a good variety of insects out, including several first sightings of the year. The hawthorn blossom is well out now, may blossom in May for a change. The flowers had attracted a range of beetles and other insects including this sawfly.
A variety of hoverflies were out including the first one of a peculiar species with a long “snout” called Rhingia campestris, a common species with a long season.
Before I left also saw a female wheatear beside the Tern hide, always a good bird to see.
I also made some progress identifying the beetle larva from Sunday, it is one of the case-bearing flower beetles. It seems the “case” is actually made out of the droppings of the larva. I think identification to species will not be possible, but I am impressed to have got this far. Needless to say this was not the result of my own work, but achieved via the wonders of the internet, I put the picture out there and asked the question and got a reply including a web link.