Friday, 13 July 2012

Red-veined Darter near Heysham, Lancashire

July 12, 2012:
Over recent years, after originally arriving as migrants, Red-veined Darters have been considered to be breeding at a small pool here. Records have been very low in the last few years however but one was recorded here last week simultaneously with an influx in other parts of the country which raises uncertainty about its origin. Today, in warm sunny conditions, a male was seen patrolling very low down over the water and perched briefly on vegetation at the water's edge. Some time later in the day another male was reportedly seen at the opposite end of the pool, suggesting at least two individuals present. The distinctive dark-bordered red pterostigma and red venation of the wings can clearly be seen in the photograph below.

Red-veined Darter in flight with a Common Blue Damselfly pair

Elsewhere around the pool, a few Black-tailed Skimmers were active, only resting occasionally and then only on the stones or dried mud. One newly emerged female flew into the surrounding bushes to allow her wings to dry.

A family of Mute Swans comprising eight cygnets rested peacefully at a safe place on the bank

Also present were large numbers of Common Darters and Common Blue and Blue-tailed Damselflies

Friday, 6 July 2012

Latterbarrow and Meathop Moss, Cumbria

July 3 & 5, 2012:
Almost continuous poor weather has meant that opportunities to see and photograph insects has been restricted to brief impromtu outings whenever a few hours of favourable conditions occurred. There have been just two of these this past week. At Latterbarrow on the 3rd, a few Northern Brown Argus were flying in areas where Rockrose was present, whilst a beautiful small day-flying Pyrausta moth (probably P. purpuralis) and in pristine condition, took up territory in one small area. There were also Silver Y and Six-spot Burnet moths and several Small Peacock butterflies and many nymphs of the Common Green Grasshopper.

Northern Brown Argus

Pyrausta cf purpuralis

At Meathop Moss two days later, the weather was hot and humid with briefs spells of sushine. At least 50 individuals of the Large Heath butterfly (ssp davus) were flying but were usually reluctant to settle.

Large Heath (subsp. davus)

Also two individuals of the nationally-scarce moth, the Mancheter treble-bar (Carsia sororiata) were seen as well an equally scarce Purple-bordered Gold (Idaea muricata). Other moths which were much more frequent included Clouded Buff (Diacrisia sannio), Common White Wave (Cabera pusaria) and Common Heath (Ematurga atomaria). Nymphs of the Bog bush-cricket were also in evidence until all activity was brought to a sudden halt for the day by a violent thunderstorm.

Manchester treble-bar

Purple-bordered Gold

Clouded Buff

Common White Wave

Common Heath

Bog bush-cricket nymph, female

[Thanks for your help with the moths Graham]