Sunday, 29 June 2014

Nomada Bee sp

Not certain which species of Nomada this is, images taken in my garden today.

Scientific name:  Nomada sp.
Size:  Up to 10mm
Distribution:  Found in most parts of Britain, especially southern England
Months seen:  April to July
Habitat:  Meadows, parks, gardens and hedgerows.
Food:  Nectar and pollen
Special features:  Nomad bees are very wasp-like in appearance.  The abdomen is almost hairless and the wings have a red-brown tinge.

Nomad bees lay their eggs in the nests of other bee species, especially Andrena sp.  This particular type of insect is known as a 'cleptoparasite', because it obtains nourishment from the body of the Andrena eggs, and it also steals the Andrena larvae food supply.

There are around 30 species of Nomad Bee in the UK, all similar in appearance.  They include; Nomada fulvicornis, Nomada ruficornis, Nomada hirtipes, Nomada flava, Nomada marshamella, Nomada ferruginata, Nomada flavopicta, Nomada lathburiana, Nomada goodeniana and Nomada pleurosticta.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Narcissus Fly Meredon equestris

Well this one fooled me (not hard these days), I thought it was a bumblebee, it's not, it is a bumblebee mimic and quite a good mimic at that. It is a type of hoverfly Narcissus Fly Meredon equestris. Hoverflies are an interesting insect that we probably take for granted and ignore, but close inspection reveals an interesting group. There are 276 species of Hoverfly in the UK.

Many are colourful, some are frankly stunning but all of them are interesting because they use imitation as a strategy to escape predation. Not only are they attractive in the garden, in the main they are useful both as pollinators and predators in their own right. In common with other flies, they have 3 stages of development, egg, larva and adult. It is as  larva  that they are usually most beneficial to gardeners because at this stage they eat mainly greenfly and other aphids. Hoverflies need to be encouraged and their presence in the garden is a sure indication of a healthy environment. There are very few exceptions to this rule and this week the Narcissus Fly (Meredon equestris) was on the wing in my garden, feeding on pollen from the new summer blooms. The Narcissus Fly gets it's name from the annoying habitat of damaging daffodil and tulip bulbs  as a larva, foraging underground on the bulbs of these plants.  This Hoverfly is a Bumble Bee imitator an could easily be confused as such. But have no fear, all Hoverflies are harmless to humans and carry no sting, nor do they bite

Friday, 27 June 2014

Zebra spider - Salticus scenicus

The zebra spider, Salticus scenicus, is a common and widespread jumping spider and quite small 5-7 millimetres. Like other jumping spiders, it doesn't build a web. It uses its four pairs of large eyes to locate prey and it’s jumping ability to pounce and capture it. I noticed this one on the wall of my garden shed. It had already pounced and caught the fly and is now moving its prey back to its lair, presumably to devour it!
Its Latin name ‘scenicus’ means of or pertaining to the stage “theatrical” which seemed pretty apt, as it was both dramatic and entertaining to watch!

Saturday, 21 June 2014

A Garden First!

First time we have had a Black-tailed Skimmer in the garden, also today seven species of butterfly including Essex Skipper.

Wow close-up of those amazing eyes

From the garden!

A few images taken yesterday in my garden. Still not managed to find any other Ladybird species, so here is another 7-Spot!
 Field Poppies - last autumn we had a new fence installed around our garden. And, this summer these Poppiws have appeared, apparently they like disturbed ground and their seeds can lie dormant for a hundred years! Very welcome they are too :-)

 This I'm guessing is the larvae of one of the Looper moths. It was tiny less than half a centimeter in length!

 I think this small spider is the Common Orb Weaver, less than a centimeter in size but fascinating to watch.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Tour Of Wembley Stadium

The view down Wembley way 
Approaching the stadium
Wembley Arch
Neil with Bobby Moore

View from the second tier

View from the second tier

In the changing rooms

In the changing rooms

In the changing rooms

In the tunnel with Sir Alf Ramsey
View from the pitch

View from the pitch, dugouts in the foreground

View from the pitch

The players tunnel

Awaiting a grilling by the press!

A display of European Cup winners

A display of European Cup winners

A display of European Cup winners

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Garden - Swifts

Still trying to get a half decent shot of a Swift from our garden, I'm making headway, but only slightly. Swifts are the most numerous species being seen from our garden currently, with around 15 today. They are not present all the time and are often feeding too high to photograph. But occasionally they do come down lower, particularly when they are chasing each other, at times nose to tail.

My best effort so far today, but the day isn't over yet!
Goldfinches are seen daily flying over the garden, but today two landing in the tree at the bottom of the garden. With great fieldcraft and not really, I just wandered to the end of our path and fired off a few shots! They were collecting insects in the top of the tree and never completely in the open. They stayed only a couple of minutes.

Well at least you can see what it is! Go on son lift your head.....
Thank You!

Friday, 6 June 2014

Fingringhoe Wick

Had a great day at EWT's Fingringhoe Wick Nature Reserve today. Glorious weather with sunshine all day. I was really pleased that some of the Nightingales were still singing, I counted at least four songsters across the reserve. Not certain if these are still unpaired males, or maybe hoping to attract a second female, if Nightingales do that!

Lots of purring going on as well, and I counted at least five different individuals, no not cats!...Turtle Doves with one showing well.
Turtle Dove

Turtle Dove

Also saw a single spike of Bee Orchid, beautiful plant and thanks to the volunteer in the visitor centre for tipping me off.

Bee Orchid

Bee Orchid

Good numbers of Dragons and Damsels around the pond, I spent some time trying to photograph them, but still need to improve the art!

Four-spotted Chaser

Azure Damselfly
Large Red Damselfly

I think this could be a Four-spotted Chaser exuvia, if you can ID it for sure please let me know

Lots of other stuff seen around the reserve, including Cuckoo, Hobby, families of Blackcaps and long-tailed tits and a Bar-tailed Godwit feeding along the estuary. Also, plenty of biting mosquitoes, knew I shouldn't have worn shorts!