Thursday, 15 August 2013

Wildlife on the doorstep

I haven't got out and about as much as I'd like this summer, but one of the great joys of natural history is that you often don't have to look very hard to find some amazing animals. Whilst emptying the moth trap the other day I noticed a small insect sitting on one of the white plastic chairs in the garden, which upon closer inspection turned out to be the intriguing bug Heterotoma planicornis.
Heterotoma planicornis
This little cracker is apparently common across the UK, but this was the first I'd ever come across, 2 foot outside the back door! The moth trap itself has been turning up some quality moths, not least a lovely little Tree-Lichen Beauty last night. This was formerly an extremely scarce migrant to the UK, but seems to have colonised in force this year, but there have still been fewer than 10 records in Bedfordshire.
Tree-Lichen Beauty

Another nice addition to the list was the Sallow Kitten which came to visit on national moth night. The theme of the night was tigers, so I guess a kitten sort of counts!

Sallow Kitten

During the day the garden has been busy with bees and butterflies, it's been really noticeable how much of a difference the better weather has made, although the maturing of the garden has probably helped as well. The larger spikes of lamb's ear attracted Wool-carder Bees again, along with their scarce cuckoo bee, Stelis punctulatissima. Fifteen species have butterfly have ventured into the garden this year, compared to four last year, with Large Whites, Small Tortoiseshells and Large Skippers the commonest species. Hopefully I'll get out and about a bit more before Autumn starts to bite, but even if I don't there will still be plenty of wildlife to keep me occupied :).

Wool-carder Bee
Wool-carder Bee on Lamb's Ear
Small Tortoiseshell
Small Tortoiseshell
Large Skipper
Large Skipper

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