Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Patch Summer Doldrums

A mid-day mid-summer walk round the patch. It's Groundhog Day. Everything that was here yesterday is here today, and will be tomorrow. So not much of note today? Well, that depends on your perspective.

Bird-wise it was hard. Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat all present singing away, but unseen. Reed Bunting and Greenfinch a bit more obvious. A Herring Gull over was noteworthy for the patch. Buzzard and a pair of kestrels less so. Plenty of young birds - family partiers of Chaffinch and Long-Tailed Tit, and a Little Owl in its usual tree was on its own, although I am told a pair fledged young here this year.

There were plenty of odonata by the river as well, but nothing new; Emperor, Brown Hawker, lots of Banded Demoiselle, and from the Damselflies there were Red-eyed, Azure and Blue-tailed. The canal had lots of vertical blue damselflies I guess ovipositing on vegetation - quite a sight.

There were butterflies too - a Marbled White, plenty of Meadow Brown, Ringlet, a Small Tortoiseshell, and Essex Skipper and Gatekeeper were new for the patch for the year.

Essex Skipper showing off those Black-tipped antennae

There were bees too. My favourite the male Red-Tailed was out for the first time this year, and there was a hairless bee as well. I can see some tufts on the body so it may be a bumble-bee that has lost its hairs, or it may be a mining bee of some description. I'm thinking the latter, as I don't see too many semi-hairless bumble bees, just fluffy bees and these hairless ones, so I'm thinking they are a separate genus altogether.

male Red-Tailed
hairless-bumble or  a mining bee?
more of that hairless bee.
then by the bridge over the canal some freshly dug holes, and some insects using them! There was a black-and-yellow wasp-like thing going in and out. Very hard to photograph but miraculously I got one hovering, and also one digging out the entrance to the burrow.

I think these are some kind of Field Digger-Wasp. They drag paralysed flies into the burrow for the young to feed on. I didn't see anything being dragged in to day, but I did see some smaller wasp-like things with reddish bodies. The closes I can find is a kind of Sawfly. Again I think these are parasitic.

UPDATE: having posted this I'm now not so sure about the ID. Field Diger Wasp has yellow on the thorax just behind the neck and at the base, but this has a completely black thorax.
SECOND UPDATE: tweeted the picture and got a great response back from Ian Beavis at @TWBC_Museum - Ornate Tailed Digger Cerceris rybyensis - isolated all-yellow segment is distinctive

in-flight hovering wasp
digger wasp digging
tiny wasp-like thing showing keen interest in the burrows.

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