Saturday 25 September 2021

Telford - Short-winged Coneheads

Short-winged Coneheads (Conocephalus dorsalis) have only recently arrived in the Shropshire (first record in 2020) and I was fortunate to team up with our County Recorder for Orthoptera to see how they were doing at Huntington Lane, Telford. The restored habitat here has gone back to nature after formerly being an open cast mine site. The fields are fenced off with no access but fortunately some of the verges next to the track were productive! We saw at least four individuals, both male and female!

As the name implies, the wings are much shorter than that of Long-winged Conehead as is the ovipositor which is also more upwardly curved.

They were really active and a nightmare to photograph but as you can see, I got there on the end!

One particular male stayed in view for quite some time and gave better views. Just look at the length of those antennae...

The background was always cluttered but I never even noticed!?

Slowly inching along this stem...

And entering the close up zone!

A county first for me and the females were a county first for images. Nice one David, thank you for expertly guiding me to them! Oh and there also several Lesser Marsh Grasshoppers seen here too! These have been recorded since 2013 but are still very localised. Another separate post beckons...

Telford - Lesser Marsh Grasshopper

With the Short-winged Coneheads under my belt, a nearby spot for Lesser Marsh Grasshopper (Chorthippus albomarginatum) was explored. This species is also relatively new in Shropshire after an initial discovery in 2013. They were there but hard work to photograph and most were hunkered down in the long grass.

See what I mean! The dorsal view isn't the most aesthetic angle but allows a good assessment of the pronotum shape which as seen here very slightly incurved, only Meadow Grasshopper comes close to this! 

These first two images are of a male which also has longer antennae than the female.

A female with short antennae and another useful pointer is the very clear white stripe on the leading edge of the forewing (hence C. albomarginata)

Despite the grass environment, she hopped onto this stone for a much better view.

What an excellent Orthoptera result on a largely cloudy afternoon!!

Friday 24 September 2021

Venus Pool - Yellow-legged Gull

My timing was impeccable, sensing that something of interest would materialise at VP, I plugged for an early afternoon visit... And after bumping into John Martin who was driving out, turned out he was sure there was an adult Yellow-legged Gull present from partial views of one 'resolutely sat down'!

It was still there as I got to the hide, except it was now on the water and showing well...

Always the centre of attention :-)

And after a false start or two...

It was soon to be airborne!

Picking a really nice flight line, I couldn't have wished for better?

Some new primaries developing nicely.

Gaining height...

Most of the big flock of Lesser BBs were off too and it was not to be seen again...

Thursday 23 September 2021

Venus Pool - Great White Egret

A second opportunity for Great White Egret pics at VP unfolded today and thanks to Dave for getting the news out! Probably very reminiscent of the May bird, constantly being disturbed by the local Herons!

Here's the reason the Egret was so flighty!

A brief attempt to land...

Then off again!

This was the closest pass in front of the Memorial hide...

There were six Little Egrets too, a regular fest!