Saturday, 26 September 2015

Longhorn beetle - Leptura quadrifasciata

This years record haul of Longhorn beetles continues, this time Leptura quadrifasciata at Cwm Drysiog, a small woodland valley between Bryn and Maesteg.

                                                                           Also this rather noticeable tachinid fly -  Tachina Fera

Hoverflies are becoming less noticeable, with less and less flowers available, managed 10 species today with the best being Sericomyia silentis.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Norfolk part 3 - the hoverflies

                                                                                               Epistrophe grossulariae
                                                                                              Eumerus species
                                                                                               Eupeodes latifasciatus
                                                                                              Eupeodes luniger
                                                                                              Ferdinandea cuprea
                                                                                              Helophilus pendulus
                                                                                               Platycheirus scutatus sens. lat.
                                                                                             Sphaerophoria scripta
                                                                                              Syritta pipiens

21 species seen in total with Tropidia scita being new for me but didn't achieve a photo.

Norfolk part 2 - Animals and insects

Plenty of other wildlife about in Norfolk besides the birds

                                                                                              Common Darter - male   
                                                                                               Common Darter - female
                                                                                               Migrant Hawker
                                                                                              Sloe [hairy] Shieldbug
                                                                                              Muntjac Deer - male
                                                                                              Muntjac - female
                                                                                              Seal Pup
                                                                                            Harvestman species

Norfolk part 1 the birds


Titchwell - Osprey, Hobby, Ruff, Curlew Sandpiper, Marsh Harrier, Little Egret, Black-tailed Godwit, Avocet, Greenshank, Little Stint, Bearded Tit, Water Rail, Red Throated Diver, Common Scoter, knot, Sandwich Tern, Golden Plover.

Thornham - Spoonbill, Osprey [same], Little Egret

Hunstanton - Common Tern

Holme - Barn Owl, Marsh Harrier, Little Egret, Red-legged Partridge, Common Scoter, Sandwich Tern, Pink-footed Goose, Short-eared Owl, Eider

Gramborough Hill -  Marsh Harrier, Redstart

Cley Marshes - Bearded Tit, Little Egret, Greenshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Ruff, Red Throated Diver, Avocet, Hobby, Marsh Harrier, Stock Dove.

Wells - Marsh Harrier, Ringtail Harrier [probably montagu's] Barn Owl

Holkham Fresh Marsh - Marsh Harrier, Red-legged Partridge, Red Kite

Burnham Norton - Marsh Harrier, Whinchat, Little Egret, Pink-footed Goose, Egyptian Goose, Golden Plover, Bearded Tit, Water Rail.

A total of 119 species were seen between the four of us - 3 up on the previous year.

                                                                                              Black-tailed Godwit
                                                                                              Curlew Sandpiper
                                                                                              Little Egret
                                                                                              Marsh Harrier
                                                                                              Ruff & Curlew Sandpiper

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Garnwen today

                               Eristalis tenax [hoverfly] - showing the diagnostic thickened and curved hind tibia
                                                                   Rhingia campestris [hoverfly] - an unusually dark specimen
 Chrysotoxum arcuatum [hoverfly] - ID features include the fat pear shaped abdomen with the yellow on the third tegrite angling downwards and the length of the1st and 2nd segments on the antennae combined are shorter than the length of the 3rd segment.
                                                             Green Shieldbug - 2nd instar - quite a few of these about today.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Other Garnwen insects today

                                                                                               Gorse Shieldbug
              Meadow Grasshopper - shorter wings than abdomen and black tips to hind femora diagnostic
                                                                                                Noon Fly
                                                                                              Painted Lady
                                                                                          Small Tortoiseshell

Didea fasciata - new for valley @ Garnwen

Seen one before in 2007 but didn't have a camera so I scrubbed that record because I didn't at the time confirm the yellow halteres [remains of the diptera hind-wings (they used to have 4 wings but now evolved into only two) which now acts as an organ of balance. There are three species of Didea but only Didea fasciata has yellow/pale halteres, while intermedia and alneti (last recorded in 1989) have a black haltere and neither has been recorded in Mid or South Wales. To identify a Didea you first have to confirm the loop in the wing of the R4+5 vein which is unusual amongst yellow and black hoverflies. Secondly, the oblique abdominal yellow markings gives Didea a very distinct and aggressive appearance. Another useful feature is that Didea has all black hind legs. Now we know it is a Didea we can check the halteres which in the case below can clearly be seen to be yellow/pale making it Didea fasciata.

                                                                          Haltere can be seen where the wings meet the abdomen
                                                           Aggressive looking species due to the yellow abdomen markings
                                                                    Another view of the haltere and also the all black hind legs

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

New hoverfly for Caerau

Cheilosia bergenstammi is a difficult to identify hoverfly, so multiple angle shots are needed. Always associated with Ragwort in Autumn as it is the larva's food-plant. There are quite a few Cheilosia that look very similar. The round, flat orange antennae with hairs on eyes and feeding on Ragwort [autumn Cheilosia prefer white umbellifiers] is a good indication that this is "bergenstammi". The tarsi are extensively pale and the tibia are usually orange with a black ring. Furry type Cheilosia can also be eliminated. A combination of all the above features can then rule out the other Cheilosia. I was pretty sure it was bergenstammi, but had an expert to confirm just in case - which he did.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Garnwen today

                                                   Xanthogramma pedissequum - lacking any characters of "stackleberi"
                                                                                               Red Admiral
                                                                                                 Tachina Fera

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Blaencaerau insects

                                                                                              Common Blue
                                                                                               Spiked Shieldbug
                                                                                               Melangyna umbellatarum
                                                                                                Syritta pipiens