Monday, 21 June 2010

Look what happens when…

The safari promised you invertebrates. Well you’re gonna get by the sackful.
After the ill-fated farmland safari we started to empty the moth trap and there were plenty in there to keep us busy! So many that we had to stop for a rest and enlist some help, in the form of our Extreme Photographer – Raf, for the second half!
Sitting right at the top of the trap was this rather splendidly superb Gold Spot.

Small Magpie is just about the biggest of the ‘micro’ moths.
More typically small but still quite chunky is this little chap that looks like a blob of birdy doodoo, Hedya nubiferana – many thanks to SP for the ID on that tricky little chappy.

Before we started the trap ‘part deux’ we did a butterfly survey over on Patch 1’s rough field. The safari was in charge of the notebook while our Extreme Photographer was in charge of the camera – naturally…the results speak for themselves – didn’t know our camera could do that – just think how good the pics would have been had he brought his super-duper rinky-dinky dslr and mega lenses out on safari.
What a great day for a bit of butterfly surveying – not too hot and a bit of a light chilly wind so they weren’t over mobile and would sit still for their portraits to be taken. In the end we had 76 individuals of 7 species although exactly 50 were Large Skippers; no Small Skippers here yet despite some being seen locally in the last week.
Not often you get to see the underwing of Large Skippers,

it’s not that exciting but it is only rarely witnessed as they normally rest in the ‘jet fighter’ pose.

Similarly the underside of Speckled Woods are rarely seen – they are usual seen, and photographed in the ‘wings wide open pose’. This one appears to be sucking at the honeydew on the leaf.

Both the Large Skipper and the Speckled Wood must have been warm enough as they were sat 'with the sun' so as not to absorb anym more heat. You can see this by looking at their shadows.
A fallen log provided a warming spot for a few different species of insects. Including this lovely Flesh Fly who has obviously fallen out with the Green Bottle. Oohh it looks like handbags at dawn!

Some bees were seen disappearing into a small crack in the log. A bit dark for a decent photo but later one sat still enough for a proper shot. Any bee specialists read this rubbish?
Talking of bees how about this whopping White Tailed Bumble Bee.

And this hugely gi-normous one, which we think is one of the Cuckoo Bees due to the smokiness of the wings.

Plenty of other insects about including this gorgeous blue Hoverfly of unknown usual.

A much more familiar Blue Tailed Damselfly.

Another tidy looking species of Sawfly to add to our current sawfly list of a grand total of … one!

Grasshoppers were abundant, their stridulations filling the summer afternoon’s air.

Above them, at the top of the grass flowerheads, this one is Timothy, were myriads of little Grass Bugs.

Best spot of the day was predation in action. Look how this Robber Fly is dangling by just a single leg as it subdues and ingests its hoverfly(?) prey that it caught before our very eyes. Really wouldn’t like to get on the wrong side of that very vicious looking beak.

There was heaps more exciting stuff out there and the more we looked the more we found we didn’t know or recognise…and we don’t remember coming across any beetles- aren’t they supposed to be the most diverse of all the invertebrate groups? But, sadly, you can’t get pictures of everything so there’s bound to more new stuff for you to gawp at throughout the summer.
Didn’t really have time/inclination to look at/listen to the birds but a Magpie giving us an alarm call resulted in spanking views of the Sparrowhawk weaving through the trees.
This has to be one of our best safaris yet – just doing the ‘Springwatch thing’ and looking closely at what’s around in our own back yards – no need to go to the Serengeti with all that, and much, much more, going on in a grassland near you!
After all that excitement a brew was needed and then it was back to the moth trap…
Final result was c.80 individuals of 25 or so species including this very nice Flame Shoulder, one of 7 of these.

And this as yet unid’d individual which my ID mate reckons is probably a Rustic Shoulder Knot…anyone (dis)agree with him?

Our final moth is the tiny Middle Barred Minor, those ruled lines on the paper are 6.5mm apart. First record of this fella for the Base Camp garden.

This morning Patch 1 gave us Blackcap and Lesser Whitethroat, Patch 2 gave us heartache – nothing there after weekend reports of Arctic Skuas - plural! - and a Harbour Porpoise – no sign of our regular Grey Seal, probably because the tide was in and had he been there he would have been well within camera range!
Where to next? After that lot a good rest wouldn’t go amiss but we’ll be out on the Patches as per usual… for a coupla days at least.
In the meantime let us know if your outback is behaving like the Serengeti in miniature


Warren Baker said...

It's all kicking of up there for you dave - at last :-)

Anonymous said...

Davo will check your moths back in after rehearsing the band so footie to watch...

Check my Facebook about Tree Bumblebee - could be on its way up to you - Jeff had 3 more in his garden since posting!
cheers dude.

Anonymous said...

A great post accompanied by some great photos. Nice one, Dave.

cliff said...

A cracking haul of photos & sightings there Dave, very well done, I love the wonderful world of macro.