Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Birds, Bees and Butterflies...and some moths!

Had a lovely walk this morning around the woods at Presthope and along the top of Lea quarry looking at birds, bees and butterflies. It was as part of a series of guided walks on the Edge and whilst the wind was a little cool and blowy there was still plenty to see.
We started off by looking at some moths that we had caught in a moth trap the previous night, there was a good selection considering the overnight conditions were a little chilly. There were none of the big, instantly impressive Hawk moths but there were plenty of smaller but equally interesting species including, Buff Ermine, Nut Tree Tussock, The Spectacle (named due to the fact that if you look at it head on it looks like it is wearing glasses) and Pale Prominent. The Pale Prominent looked just like a rolled up brown leaf and just goes to show how easy it is to overlook these beautiful creatures.
Buff Ermine

Also in the trap was a Cockchafer beetle otherwise known as a Maybug, these insects are on the wing in May and June (hence the name). The larva live in the soil feeding on the roots of grasses and plants whilst adults feed on the leaves of trees. They do not bite or sting although they do look like they might.

We then spent 10 minutes in the bird hide, watching the activity on the feeders, birds seen there included, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Nuthatch, Chaffinch, Robin, Blue Tit and Great Tit.
With the help of Caroline, the National Trusts ecologist and Ian, county recorder of Bees we found a fairly wide variety of Bees, Flies and Butterflies along the top of Lea Quarry, species included, Common Blue and Dingy Skipper butterflies, Common Carder and Tree Bumble Bee. We were also lucky enough to spot a Queen Hornet which was struggling through the strong wind.
Dingy Skipper

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