Sunday, 25 September 2011

High heath

It was surprisingly warm in the hours preceding the predicted storm, so quite a few insects had taken the opportunity to fill up on nectar.

This tiny solitary bee was nectaring alongside an even smaller Empid fly on Common Catsear:
Solitary bee and Empid on Common Catsear

Notice the very thin and upturned ovipositor on this tiny Ichneumonid on Marsh Ragwort:

Ichneumonid on Marsh Ragwort

Quite a few insects are reaching the end of their season and will either die soon or hibernate. This is the hoverfly Helophilus pendulus which has been quite scarce here this year:
Helophilus pendulus on Devilsbit Scabious

And there are still a few Common Carder Bumblebees around:
Bombus pascuorum on Devilsbit Scabious

I've seen a few Small Tortoiseshell butterflies flying around the garden this week. This one nectared on Knapweed for a while and then posed perfectly for its portrait:
Small Tortoiseshell butterfly
Small Tortoiseshells hibernate in sheltered places and then wake in March or April to start off next year's generation.

This is a first for me:
The Stonefly Leuctra fusca
It's Leuctra fusca, a member of the Stonefly family and is known as a Needle Fly for fairly obvious reasons. The nymphs are fully aquatic, but I found this adult hiding on the underside of a Willow leaf which I was examining for the orange fungal rust. The nearest running water is a stream about 50 m. away.

I always check the front lights for moths at night, and I spotted this Lesser Crane Fly. Those legs look almost ridiculously long.
Lesser Cranefly attracted to light

The proposed fungal foray to Ards in about 2 hours' time hasn't quite been called off yet. But it's going to be close.....

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