Tuesday 14 July 2020

Sunday - bee twitching, naturists and new hoverflies

Sunday morning - not an early start but at 8am, it wasn't that warm and I thought it was too early to look for some bees that Chris Barlow has been seeing lately on the patch (I was wrong it seems) - Sharp-tailed Bee Coelioxys elongata and a leafcutter bee Megachile versicolor, both of which have been hanging around the rotten post where I've been seeing the Ectemnius wasps. He also found Fork-tailed Flower Bees Anthophora furcata nesting in the post.

So instead of going to check out the post,  I had a look at the sea. There was a gang of folks camping on the beach and a handful of them were in the sea - butt naked! Each to their own I suppose? One of the juvenile Cuckoos was still by the road with a hoard of 'toggers' on it.

I retreated to the post and track and left the nudists and the toggers to their own devices.

The Fork-tailed Flower Bees were busy excavating holes in the rotten wood and my Ectemnius wasp was briefly on the post - I don't think it is identifiable to species.

Fork-tailed Flower Bee Anthophora furcata Investigating a nest hole
Ectemnius wasp sp
Chris had seen the sharp-tailed bees further down the path to the hides so I moved between the post and the brambles looking for them as the sun came and went. I didn't see them but there was plenty of other things to keep me occupied.

There were a few hoverflies out, mostly black and yellow wasp mimic types of the genus Syrphus and Eupeodes - both tricky to ID. I did find a new species for me and for the patch Platycheirus rosarum.

Platycheirus rosarum. - new for the patch
Syrphus sp (male)
Helophilus pendulus (male)
Eupeodes corollae (female)
Syrphus ribesii (female)
Platycheirus albimanus (female)
I also found these Gorse Shield Bugs nymphs hatching from their eggs - amazing little things.

Tiny Gorse Shield Bug Piezodorus lituratus nymphs hatching from eggs 
And this strange fly -Sicus ferrugineus - It's larvae are endoparasites of bumble bees, they pupate and overwinter in their victims - nice!

Sicus ferrugineus
Back to the post and still no sign of the bees but I did find a Blue Shield Bug nymph and a looper caterpillar which remains unidentified.

Blue Shield Bug nymph (final instar) Zicrona caerulea
Looper caterpillar to be ID'd
I bumped into Bob Biggs who told me about wood and common sandpipers from the Budge screen. Commons Sands are tricky these days with no edge to the big pool so I headed south through the bushes to see it.

On my way back to the car I saw these two interesting beasts in the grass.

Non-biting midge species
Sciara hemerobioides -  one of the dark-winged fungus gnats seemingly. Bonny thing!
Chris was at the post when I got back, typically just as I headed off he had the sharp-tailed bee briefly on the post. I'll try for them again during the week.

Louise Hislop came up to see them and confirmed the Sharp-tailed Bee as new for the vice-county and the leaf cutter as new for the County. Well done Chris!

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