Saturday 30 April 2022

LLanymynech - Grizzled Skipper

You never quite know with Butterflies.... One day there's not a Grizzled Skipper in sight and then a few days later there are multiples of the wing! Never easy to pin down, Dave Chapman and I made the most of this relative fest? Noting that where the butterfly lands will make or break the shot...

Grass or general clutter - looks messy!

On a flower? Dandelions are abundant at present. A bit out of context with a small butterfly!  but at least they seem to work better than female Orange Tips!

A stone? Yes, looks pretty natural and the combination of shades works well here :-)

Perched on a stem or seed head? Magic, as it throws the clutter into an out of focus backdrop :-) :-)

You can play with different angles?

Or go in a bit closer?

So that's Grizzly sorted then!

Monday 25 April 2022

Llanymynech - Dingy Skipper etc

I had butterflies on my mind today. The cold easterly wind continues to blow however and scupper thoughts of butterflies by the dozen. It was hard work with cloud cover for most of my available time there but one of my 'targets' was achieved - Dingy Skipper!

I suppose one bonus of the low temperature is their relative inactivity!

I'd seen a couple of Small Copper on my travels but one sitting had eluded me...

It's been a super year for Orange Tips, usually as ever 'flying through' at least this one stopped!

On the walk back to the car a male Leucozona lucorum hoverfly

Where's a Grizzly when you need one! Oh well, next time...

Sunday 24 April 2022

Long Mynd - Dotterel

A great find by Mike Stokes, a male Dotterel on the 'Mynd a little earlier than the traditional 1st May! And everything conspired for me almost not to see it! 

First off off was getting stuck in the 'Bike for Life' argie bargie and the traffic was completely jammed near the Park & Ride for at least 20 mins... The I arrived only for Mike and Damo (who were driving off) to tell me it had been pushed out of view :-( 

Cue a team up with Dave Chapman and Rob Dowley and after 30 mins or so of searching, we were on it :-)

It spent quite a bit of time hunkered down, nervous with a Red Kite quartering the general area...

But eventually it was best foot forward!

Plus an over the shoulder pose or two...

I'm still aching after stretching out to get a low perspective capture!

Still ever alert!

And perhaps my favourite image was this feather ruffle!

Not the most pristine of Dots (where's a female when you need one!)  but better than nowt!

Long Mynd - Emperor Moth

April is prime time on the Long Mynd for Emperor Moths and it would have been disrespectful not to find some?

There's only so many aspects you can look for and here's a couple of variations from the normal completely spread upperwing!

And by going in close, checking out the marvellous comb like antennae. These are the prime means of sensing the pheromones secreted by a female (or a lure). They are believed to pick up the scent of a female over a mile away?

Not an Emperor caterpillar but in the same area was the larva of the Oak Eggar moth!

One day we will chance upon a female Emperor Moth, just a latter of time and immeasurable luck!

Monday 18 April 2022

My Garden - Hairy-footed Flower Bee

Last year it was the Bee-flies which grabbed a lot of my attention but 2022 has turned out to be the year of Hairy-footed Flower Bee (Anthophora plumipes)! A bit of a mouthful to say and just like the Bee-flies, they don't hang around, you could call them the F1 of the Bee speed stakes! They dash from plant to plant and flower to flower as if their life depended upon it! All of the images feature a female (all Black) whilst I've yet to capture a male which resembles the Common carder Bee.

I've learnt to tolerate plants which aren't exactly my favourites for the sake of insects (Pulmonaria is a good example) but it attracts them like a magnet.

As there's no time to lose, a quick hover will suffice...

It's not often the wings remain still!

Finally, that's your lot and off to the next plant

Where's a male when you need one?

Sunday 10 April 2022

Venus Pool - Green winged Teal display

The Green-winged Teal seems to be continuing its unpredictable behaviour by disappearing for a day or two, then reappearing once more! Usually distant, it decided to walk onto the mud and...  

put on a bit of a display for a nearby female...

Whatever next? He doesn't appear to have scored with one of the females, yet...

Venus Pool - Early Colletes

My first insect post of the year and you can expect regular doses of the same! There were already thousands of Early Colletes mining bee (Colletes cunicularius) on the wing...

Predominantly males, here's a couple, with only one thing on their minds! A female!

Here's a male patiently waiting...

Then gotcha!

No big courting clusters, just one one one!

Whilst they are primarily a coastal sand dune species, sand is sand and available on many inland sites where they make good use of it!

Friday 8 April 2022

Titterstone Clee - Ring Ouzel

Teamed up with Dave Chapman this morning, moments after he had picked up three Ring Ouzels (2m / 1f). They were extremely flighty however and for the rest of the morning it was difficult to get close. I was determined to do better during the afternoon and after an hour of searching all the likely spots to no avail, I chanced upon a male not far from the main car park.

The odd thing was... it didn't fly off! 

So I just sat down on a rock to see what would happen?

No no no, that's not the normal script for a Ring Ouzel as it hopped slowly but surely towards me!

Perching up nicely!

This was the 'closest' moment and it coincided with an aggressive male Wheatear bombing this interloper... successfully sadly!

Here's the culprit!

And of course there were plenty of Stonechat over the hill...

Not a bad day!!