Saturday, September 28, 2013

The arrival of autumn, 2013

There have been many interesting moments after the last few weeks as summer has given way to an Indian summer.

In the sunshine the ivy flowers in our garden hedge has proved a great attraction to insects and I have seen more hornets here than anywhere else this year.

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A welcome addition to the usual visitors was the ivy bee, Colletes hederae.  This was first recorded in Britain in Dorset in 2001 and is spreading rapidly northwards.  It is one of the latest solitary bees on the wing, its emergence coinciding with the ivy flowers that it normally visits.

2013-09-24 Colletes hederae

Another pleasant surprise was the discovery of a huge colony of autumn lady's tresses orchid, Spiranthes spiralis in a front garden in Sedlescombe village.  The small white spikes are the orchids.

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An extraordinary sight was that of a spider-hunting wasp. an Anoplius (probably A. nigerrimus) hauling a paralysed wolf spider (Trochosa sp.) up the curtains in our living room.  These wasps normally nest at or near ground level and it is not clear precisely where this one was going with its victim.

2013-09-26 Anoplius & spider

Another surprise was the discover of a tiny barkfly halfway down our garden that turned out to be a fairly recent British arrival - Trichopsocus brincki.  This was discovered in Madeira in 1957 and, for a while, was thought to be an endemic species there.  However, one turned up in South Devon in 2003 and it now seems to be fairly widespread in Britain.  The pattern near the front edge of the forewings make it unmistakable.  It was named after Professor Per Brinck, a Scandinavian entomologist who did much work in Madeira.

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Moths and crickets

A beautiful, freshly emerged light emerald moth (Campaea margaritata) was resting on the spiders webs on the north wall if our shed yesterday.

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Later, coming indoors after dark, I spotted an oak bush cricket (Meconema thalassinum) on our back door and took a flash picture:

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