Saturday, 22 July 2017

Lletty Brongu Lanes

After three days rain and people mentioning that there are very few hovers about after the rain, I waited till the afternoon and better weather to take a walk. It was quite warm at 20c and very little wind but was overcast on times.  When not expecting much you always end up with a good day, I realized this when I got out of the car and the first hogweed plant has 7 species of hoverfly on it. In  a 1 mile round walk hoverflies were everywhere and in huge numbers. I recorded over a 1000 flies of 45 species on the Hogweed and supporting plants, which was a new daily record for me beating last years 43 at Blaencaerau around the same time of year. With so many hoverflies I didn't notice much else except for a couple of longhorn beetles Rutpela maculata and some tortrix moths in Pammene aurana.

 Chrysotoxum species - a large individual showing characteristics of both "cautum" and "elegans" [the 2 larger ones of the genus]. For cautum it shows on the antennae seg 1 is shorter than seg 2, but also shows seg 1 + seg 2 is longer than seg 3 which should not be in cautum but in elegans. Also the thoracic hairs are pale and not as long as the antennae are wide again favouring elegans. The second picture shows that the yellow on tergite 2 bends down and thickens to the lateral margin like on elegans, on cautum it should be straight to the margin. I kept the specimen and it keys out to elegans. I'll send the photos to Roger Morris of HRS to see if he can add anything on the ID. Otherwise we will have to wait until the end of the year when the specimens are assessed. I'll update with his thoughts when I get a reply.  update - From photos Roger Morris reckons it's Chrysotoxum cautum [worth a try though 👮]
 Chrysotoxum bicinctum
 Dasysyrphus albostriatus
 Epistrophe grossulariae
 Eupeodes latifasciatus - key'ed out
 Leucozona glaucia
 Myathropa florea
 Platycheirus granditarsus
 Scaeva pyrastri

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Llangynwyd lanes

Lots of Hogweed around the lanes of Llangynwyd today. But with temperatures hitting a sultry 26c I wasn't expecting much. I did however record 27 species of hoverfly. The highlight being a Pipiza species - see below.

I took a quick photo of this Pipiza before potting it as they can't be done with photos for sure and are regarded by experts as the most difficult family in the hoverfly super family. When I checked against the keys I can't make it anything but "lugubris", this is the rarest of the Pipiza and there are only 2 records for Wales, both from the Gower coast. I've tried and re-tried to ID it but it still comes out lugubris. So we wont know the true identity until I send off my samples  at the end of the season to Roger Morris at the Hoverfly recording scheme. Finger's crossed 🔍🔎🔍🔎.

Other insects see today -

 Tachinid Fly - Phasia hemiptera
 Epistrophe grossulariae
Dasysyrphus albostriatus

Blaencaerau part 2 - images

 Chrysotoxum bicinctum
 Eupeodes corollae
 Eupeodes male - probably luniger as females were close by
 Helophilus trivittatus
 Melangyna compositarum agg.
 Scaeva pyrastri
 Sphaerophoria scripta
 Xanthogramma pedissequum s.s.
 Gatekeeper - good numbers today 20+
Keeled Skimmer - male

Monday, 17 July 2017

Eriozona syrphiodes at Blaencaerau

36 species of hoverfly recorded today and will update later, but this species deserves it's own post. Eriozona syrphoides is a scarce hoverfly it was only discovered in Great Britain in the 1960's in North Wales. Since then it has slowly spread across the country and into Glamorgan. It was recorded once last year in the valley at Garnwen by Paul Tabor, so this is the second record for the valley and the fourth for Glamorgan. The valley records are the furthest south it has been recorded in Wales.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Llangynwyd Lanes

Walked along the lanes of point to point, there was plenty of hogweed and the first of the Angelica blooming. But a stiff wind kept insect numbers down, temperature was 19c. 24 species of hoverfly seen but nothing special. Other insect highlights included the valleys second Bilberry Bumblebee, also the valleys second Golden Horsefly. Plenty of Palmate Newts in the pools and I potted a small soldier beetle, the ones with the small elytra with yellow tips that can't be done from photos. Under magnification when I got home it was quite straight forward to identify with the ID key and turned out to be Malthodes marginatus which is new for the valley. There were a lot of butterflies on the wing today with highlights being Comma and both common Skippers. I looked for Essex Skipper as this was the site I had them last year but no luck this time.

 Large Skipper
 Small Skipper
Eupeodes luniger

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Garnwen tracks

Bit cloudier today but still 21c although it didn't feel like at times. Only 20 species of hoverfly recorded as the late summer blooms of Hemp Agrimony, Angelica and Feverfew have not yet bloomed, so the main flowering plants are what's left of the Bramble and a few Hogweed plants. These 2 weeks are pretty quiet up Garnwen, nevertheless I thought I'd give it a go. Highlights for hoverflies being 3 Baccha elongata, Scaeva pyrastri and Sericomyia silentis.

Other insects included the Green Leafhopper (Cicadella viridis) and the first of the year for the scarce longhorn beetle Stictoleptura rubra (female with red thorax). Otherwise Red Hemp Nettle was my 300th flower/tree/shrub since I started recording first blooms of the year in 2016.

 Cicadella viridis - adult above, nymph below

 Common Shrew - I think, soon to be feast for Carrion Beetles
 Stictoleptura rubra - female
 Scaeva pyrastri - continental migrant
Sericomyia silentis

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Parc Tir-Iarll, Cwmfelin

21c at its peak, meant hoverflies were not to bothered about the heat, so I recorded 28 species, with the best being Chrysotoxum cautum, Dasysyrphus albostriatus and Riponnensia splendens.

Other insects included Red Admiral [butterfly], Pammene aurana [moth], Small Fleck-winged Snipe-fly, Phasia hemiptera, Broad Centurion [all flies], Rutpela maculata [longhorn beetle] and Tree Bumblebee amongst the usual stuff.

A Garden Warbler singing and moving about in the trees was a nice surprise as was the Green Woodpecker that nearly took my head off in panic flight near the woods.

 Dasysyrphus albostriatus
 Epistrophe grossulariae
 Leucozona glaucia
 Riponnensia splendens
 Small Fleck-winged Snipe-fly
Speckled Wood

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Lletty Brongu lanes

A lot cooler today at 19c with a heavy cloud cover. I was a bit disappointed, as insects were relatively low in numbers. Only recorded 19 species of hoverfly, mostly common except for another Criorhina berberina variation oxyacanthae, it was the furriest specimen I've seen of this species so far.

Other stuff included the obligatory Rutpela maculata [longhorn beetle], Yellow-shell [moth], Red Admiral [butterfly] and Closterotomus fulvomaculatus [flower bug]. Otherwise quiet.

 Criorhina berberina [var. oxyacanthae]
 Rutpela maculata - recorded over 50 of these so far this year
    Closterotomus fulvomaculatus - I've put it on Irecord for confirmation, but I'm pretty confident with the ID

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Darren Woods [A.M.], Foel Fawr, Caerau [P.M.]

Temperatures reached 27c in the shade and 31c in the open, so Darren Woods and its stream were the only options. There's something calming about slowly rummaging in the undergrowth so you tend to concentrate more and thus see more than if just walking the paths. Recorded 27 species of hoverfly with Chrysotoxum festivum new for the year as well as singles of Chrysotoxum bicinctum, Melangyna umbellatarum, Scaeva pyrastri, Sphareophoria scripta, Eristalis rupium and Criorhina berberina.

Other odds and sods included Green-veined White [butterfly], Marsh Snipe-fly and Bright Horsefly [horseflies], Leptopterna dolabrata [flower bug] and a Peregrine and Kestrel duelling above me for 30 minutes.

At Dusk I went for a walk up Foel Fawr behind Caerau and saw 4 pairs of Nightjar, 2 pairs in the valley boundary and 2 pairs just outside. Had really close views as a male must have been roosting 5 yards away from where I was standing and it just flew up into the nearest tree to churr. I tried the clapping [2 claps pause for two seconds 1 clap] technique also and this attracted two different males, with another displaying in the distance. First seen and heard at 2150hrs.

 Chrysotoxum festivum
 Xylota segnis - nice to get a shot of the hind femur spines, which help to distinguish it from the closely related Xylota tarda.
 Green-veined White - probably summer generation now, it's not quite Africa, but nice to see UK butterflies "mud-dipping".
 Leptopterna dolabrata
Marsh Snipe-fly