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Sunday, 27 September 2015

Pilmoor, Sunday 27 Sep 2015

What a day of contrast, overcast with low cloud and a cool breeze in the morning breaking to a warm and sunny afternoon.  A walk along the old railway line at Pilmoor (VC62) offered a few photographic opportunities and several hours thumbing through identification books trying to put names to some of the species.  As with all the photos on this site, my attempts at identification are subject to correction!

Hoverflies were not particularly numerous, with those seen on a few flowering umbellifers and a small group of purple flowering mint sp..  The L. glaucia were the most numerous by far.
Helophilus pendulus

Leucozona glaucia (females)
One small moth seen was a Nettle-tap and the only butterflies were a Comma, Red Admiral and at least 15 Speckled Woods including several courting pairs.

Speckled Wood - courting pair

Monday, 21 September 2015

Staveley Nature Reserve - Sunday 13 Sep

Staveley NR a Yorkshire Wildlife Trust reserve is a superb wetland area, recovered from quarrying that finished in the 1980's and has been managed to offer some rare habitat, and the best thing about it is that it is close to home.  

Over the East lagoon I was greeted by a Hobby being chased by a Black-headed Gull.  There were many Chiffchaff and a small number of Blackcap calling, and a Redpoll flew over calling. Dragonflies were about in small numbers: Common Hawkers, a couple of Brown Hawker, 25+ Common Darters and several Coenagrion sp. which were too far away to see properly.
Common Darter  Sympetrum striolatum
A ladybird seen turned out to be a Harlequin Harmonia axyridis, a species that was first recorded in Britain in 2004 and has spread rapidly north and west.  There are a few extra-limital records further north and in Scotland but Yorkshire is currently at the northern edge of the main range.
Harlequin Ladybird   Harmonia axyridis 
As for butterflies, they were attracted to the blueish globe flowers of Field Scabious in the meadow areas, and included just the one Red Admiral, several Peacock, c.20 Small Tortoiseshell, three Speckled Brown and a Small Copper, while moths were represented by two Udea lutealis and eight Silver Y.

Red Admiral

Red Admiral

Red Admiral

Small Copper
Continuing on from last week I had a go at photographing some of the hoverflies and associated species.  One big black beastie stood out with large size and black bristles on the thorax, which reminded me of the tachinid of last week, and was found to be Tachina grossa, and looking at the state of its wings it was amazing it could fly; a more complete one was seen nearby.
Tachina grossa

Tachina grossa

Tachina grossa
The number and variety of hoverflies was not as good as last week, but those identified are added here.
Helophilus pendulus
Syrphus sp

Eristalis pertinax

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

A few hoverflies.....

On such a beautiful Sunday afternoon and spurred on by the excellent field guide by Ball and Morris, Britain's Hoverflies (2nd edition) and the Hoverflies Facebook group I had my first attempt at photographing some of the hoverflies at Pilmoor.  Virtually the only plant in flower were some tall umbellifers and a small stand of purple-flowered mint sp..  I was reasonably happy with the results, hand-held on a day with some breeze, and at least managed to identify most of the species taken.

Eristalis pertinax

Helophilus pendulus

Leucozona glaucia (fem)

Melangyna umbellatarum

Epistrophe grossulariae
There was the odd imposter such as this next one a Tachinid fly that as a larva preys on the larvae of many moths.
Tachina fera
There were a small number of butterflies about, at least two Brimstone, four Comma, several Large White and a couple of Peacock.


Comma - underside