Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ampthill Park

I went for a walk over Ampthill Park before the service this morning.

When I saw several of these hovering over the bracken in the south-east corner of the Park, I thought that they were a new species of hoverfly at first, but I quickly realised that they were male horseflies. Realising that they were males (which don't bite), I felt quite safe, until it struck me that they were waiting in a likely spot for passing females (the ones that do bite...painfully!). Males will often engage in this activity very early in the morning, so it's not observed that often. I reckon that they are a species called the Bright Horsefly (Hybomitra distinguenda), but I need to see one in the hand to confirm that, so I'm planning to return with the net early one morning later this this space!

This is the Marsh Snipefly (Rhagio tringarius). The state of the left wing makes me wonder whether it's had a close escape from a bird of some kind. The Flushes just to the north of where this individual was attract a number of invertebrates that thrive in this kind of habitat.

There are lots of these around at the moment: the Nettle Tap Moth (Anthophila fabriciana). Nettles are the larval foodplant, but it's found on various types of foliage at this time of year. Tap a bed of nettles with a stick and you'll see where it gets its name from!

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