Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Scarcely Chasing the Dragon

I've heard a fair bit about these here Scarce Chasers at Woodwalton Fen so, having had a glimpse of one at the PBC field trip a few days ago I decided I would take advantage of the slightly warmer day to take a look. As well as the target species there were Brown Hawker, Four-spotted Chaser, Emperor, Black-tailed Skimmer, Common Darter, a probable Ruddy Darter, Azure, Common Blue, Red-eyed and Blue-tailed Damselflies. Not a bad little haul for a quick lunchtime dash.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Female Banded Demoiselle - or is it?

I learned recently about a colony of Beautiful Demoiselles (Calopteryx virgo) at Ferry Meadows, Peterborough. This species' usual range is well away from here so went for a look on 29 June. I only saw Banded Demoiselles (C. splendens) for certain but this female was very obliging and appeared to have very dusky wings. Several people have commented that it looks fine for C. virgo but I think I will wait to see a male.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Much Mulleined

This blog is largely moth free at the moment for reasons which may or may not become apparent but here is a smashing larva. Swarms of Mullein larvae can decimate some plants while leaving others nearby completely untouched.

Blue-tailed Damselfly

This is an immature or it may just be a bit cool, which gives it that extra bit of colour.

Fox Cub

Not the greatest photo and it was taken by digibinning (taking the shot through one lens of binoculars). This cub somehow remained oblivious to my presence. I got much closer, even though I was walking out in the open, but I had put the camera away and it ran off as I started to get it out again.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Get the point!

This is probably Alex's finest find to date. An eight-year-old is that bit smaller (and very keen), which seems to make it easier to find such items. We are still finding out about this tooth but it seems likely it came from a marine reptile. He found it in a pile of clay/shale dumped next to one of the footpaths in the new Hampton housing development near Peterborough. It ain't all that big (the scale is in mm) but it is in excellent condition considering it is over 65 million years old.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Fragrant and Pyramidal Orchid

Fragrant Orchids were showing spectacularly well on a trip to Barnack Hills and Holes and Pyramidal Orchids were just starting to open. Man Orchids were also still out.

Once in a lifetime

Well that's how it was billed anyway. In the end I felt the traverse of Venus was a little unedifying. Much as I reckon could be expected a small black dot passed very slowly across the sun's disk. Er... that's it! This is a snap of the event projected onto a piece of paper using an old telescope.

Urban Bee Orchids

Talk about getting a Bee in your bonnet. The Bee Orchid is not exactly a rare plant but it is great when you can see them in and around our urban spaces. Trouble is civic tidying often means these get mown at the height of their flowering season. This not only deprives us of the sight of the flowers but also means they are unable to set seed. In the case of the ones pictured here near Hampton on London Road, Peterborough a quick email to the local Wildlife Officer in the council means mowing of this verge is now delayed to allow the plants to complete their flowering. Round one to the orchids :)

Hopefully the same can be done for the 120 or so seen flowering at the Boongate parkway junction sliproad this year. All but about 6 were mown before I contacted anyone but hopefully they can be avoided next year. Look out for them.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Common Tern taking bread

This may be a first. We are all familiar with gulls and other birds taking bread but it was a big surprise to see a Common Tern swooping down to pick up bits of bread thrown into the water. It was quite agressive towards other birds trying to get the food. This was in the middle of Malthouse Broad in the Norfolk Broads.

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)

Nikon CP995.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Damsels on Broads

There were some excellent insects about at the north end of Somerton Dyke near Martham Broad including Swallowtail butterfly. Among the many damselflies were these little crackers. The first two are a male Variable Damselfly (Coenagrion pulchellum) and a superb female Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans) of the form rufescens.

These next pics are two shots of the same female which I took to be a female Variable at the time but on closer inspection I think it must be a female Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella). Comments welcome.

Longhorn Beetle

Got a bit of a soft spot for these large beetles with the outrageous antennae. This one was on the banks of Candle Dyke on the Norfolk Broads and has unfortunately lost a large part of one of the its antennae. Oh yes and the species is Agapanthea villosoviridescens.