Thursday 14 July 2022

So Much Life...

Just three days since the last NQS post, and I cannot believe how much stuff has piled up, waiting for a slot on the blog. Birds first.

It's ages since I last went for a proper walk at Cogden, so I rectified that on Tuesday evening. One surprise and one not surprise...

I've seen relatively few July Wheatears locally, and this juv is easily my earliest.

My first juv Med Gull of 2022. They've been out and about for a while now of course, but I have not.

Today I was at Mapperton again, a bit of homework in preparation for leading a walk at the weekend. The place is growing on me. Sadly I do not have the knack of capturing a view with a camera. At least, not in a way that truly conveys the spectacle...

A lush sea of growth, peppered with flower heads of the wonderfully-named Corky-fruited Water Dropwort. It is Insect Central. Fantastic.

I sat in this elevated spot for a few minutes, soaking it up. Visible down in the meadow is a glorious, ancient Oak...

How many millions (billions?) of living things has this Oak provided with a home, food and shelter in its long, long life?

The abundance of invertebrate life was showcased to marvellous effect by the balmy weather...

The Boss. Golden-ringed Dragonfly. Saw several of these.

Male Keeled Skimmer.

I could easily have gone overboard on butterfly photos, but resisted. Absolutely loads of them about. Nothing fancy, and I must have inspected a few dozen Small Skippers without getting a sniff of Essex. Butterfly highlight was a rapid and elusive Silver-washed Fritillary, my first this year.

There was one big surprise though. Pausing to check out a couple of mostly-over Common Spotted Orchids, I caught a movement in the grass...

Hello, what's this hiding in the veg?

The big, pale 'U' behind the head brought to mind pics I've seen of Roesel's Bush Cricket. I could see there were two here, creeping about furtively, so I backed off a touch and tried to get some photos. Roesel's Bush Cricket would be new for me, but a close look at the back of the camera - and some in-the-field googling - confirmed my suspicions. Wa-hey! Insect tick.

A little later I came across a third, this one sporting a fine set of wings. Here are all three...

Male Roesel's Bush Cricket...


...and flying version.

I checked out a distribution map earlier. Their steady advancement west and north is obvious, but I'm not sure how common they are locally just yet. Whatever, I was very pleased to see them.

I cannot close this catch-up without mentioning a few moths. Natch.

The subtly lovely Rosy Rustic. Hints of pink in the wing fringes and elsewhere.

This one stumped me at first. I would never have guessed it was related to all those sandy-coloured jobs. Twin-spotted Wainscot.

This one stumped me for a different reason. In all the pics I've seen, this species has a bold white spot in each wing. Which this one doesn't. But still it's a True Lover's Knot, I assume.

Rapidly approaching 200 species now. I am trying to tackle as many micros as I reasonably can, but some do test my will to live. However, others are so bright and/or characterful that they actually make me smile, so I give them a big piece of my life...

Metalampra italica - Italian Tubic

One of the amazing mini-tripod type moths. This is Caloptilia rufipennella - Small Red Slender

Another tiny Manfrotto. Caloptilia semifascia - Maple Slender.

Agapeta hamana - Common Yellow Conch

Crassa unitella - Golden-brown Tubic

The moths above range from 'very common' to 'not really that common'. In almost every case, I have little idea what I've got until the ID process is complete, and am constantly aware that the new moth I am handling with ham-fisted ineptitude might be a national rarity, and I really ought to be less slap-dash with my potting technique.

I am seriously hoping that tonight is going to be rubbish for moths, because I badly need a decent kip  and the trap is having a rest...


  1. Great post Gav, I love the Roesel's Bush Crickets. Enjoy your lie in.

    1. Thanks Dave, those crickets were great.

      Really lazy start to the day for a change. 7am. 😄