Thursday, May 28, 2009

Coronation Pit, Stewartby

The hoverfly in this photograph is a lot more exciting than it looks. It's Sphaerophoria loewi, a rare coastal species that I found here a year the form of a male & female joined together! John O'Sullivan and I returned today hoping to relocate it. We were really excited when John found some in his net after sweeping a rush growing on the edges of the lake where I found the species last year. We definitely found 5, maybe a few more, including this female. Before last year, this species had been found inland only once before - at Aviemore, Scotland in it's a significant find.

Here's John with the main patch of what we think might be sea club rush to the left.

This photograph shows a waterplant that has been used by a female great crested newt to lay her eggs. Notice how the leaves have been folded over.

Lots of other wildlife around, too:
  • Hoverflies (a number of them in the ditch alongside the road): Cheilosia bergenstammi; Cheilosia illustrata; Cheilosia pagana; Cheilosia variabilis; Chrysotoxum cautum; Eristalis arbustorum; Eristalis nemorum; Eristalis pertinax; Eristalis tenax; Helophilus pendulus; Melangyna comp/lab; Myathropa florea; Parhelophilus versicolor; Pipizella viduata; Platycheirus albimanus; Platycheirus fulviventris; Platycheirus scutatus (female s.l); Sphaerophoria scripta; Sphaerophoria loewi; Syritta pipiens; Syrphus ribesii; Tropidia scita; Volucella bombylans; Xanthogramma pedissequum.
  • Odonata: Large red, Blue-tailed & Azure damselflies abundant; 4-spotted chasers all over the shop; newly-emerged black-tailed skimmer.
  • Butterflies: The impressive painted lady migration that is currently being noted all over the country was evidenced by a number of individuals constantly flying through; lots of common blue butterflies; a solitary male orange tip in the field.
  • Moths: Nettle-tap; Cinnabar (7); Silver Y; a dark dagger larva; and the micro Dichrorampha alpinana whose larvae feed on ox-eye daisy.
  • Tabanidae: I seemed to attract the horsefly family, as usual, with a number of Twin-lobed deerfly (Chrysops relictus) and a couple of clegs (Haemotopota pluvialis), one in a spider's web.
  • Tephritidae (Picture winged flies): Platystoma seminationis (fairly common on umbellifers).
  • Soldierflies: Chloromyia formosa (male and female).
  • Herps: Common toad under a carpet tile and water plants with their leaves folded over...the work of great crested newts laying their eggs.
Other sightings included a couple of hobbys catching dragonflies; a male cuckoo calling & a female with its 'bubbling' call; reed warblers & reed buntings everywhere; and a male stickleback at its nest in the ditch by the gate. Now and again it would put its head into the entrance and furiously shake its body...any ideas??

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