I swear, these magpies were sunbathing. I’d barely left the house, and was heading into the ginnel which would take me to Town’sfield and there they were, sunning themselves on the wall. It was then that I realised that I’d left my camera’s battery and memory card at home. But even after I’d been back to retrieve them, the magpies were still chilling out on the wall.
Naively, I thought this large and distinctive beetle might be easy to identify. But no. I think that it’s probably a member of the Silphidae family, but beyond that, I can’t decide. On the plus side, I did discover the excellent UK Beetles website and have just spent a half hour or so reading about beetles which bury dead birds and others which prey on snails.
There’s a fair few insects in this post, some of them difficult to identify; not so this one…
…my first dragonfly of this summer and my first ever Four-spotted Chaser. The British Dragonfly Society website tells me that this species is common throughout the UK, so I’m not sure how they have eluded me for so long.
Of course, once I’d seen one, I spotted another about five minutes later…
…and I’ve seen more since.
There were lots of damselflies about too. They’re a bit tricky to distinguish between, but I think that these first two…
..are Small Red-eyed Damselflies. Their eyes are not as vividly red as I would expect, but then again, they definitely aren’t blue either and they have anti-humeral stripes on their thoraxes which aren’t present in the very similar Red-eyed Damselfly.
This is another first, in a way, because I have seen this species before, but never in this area.
One principal way to recognise blue damselflies, of which there are several species, is by the mark on the second segment of their abdomen. By that token, I think that this is a female Variable Damselfly, another first for me.
And, finally, this is a more familiar Common Blue Damselfly, again, identified by the shape of the mark on the second segment.
I was struck by the rather face-like shape of this large limestone boulder.
I’ve come to the conclusion that grasses, sedges and the like are impossible to get to grips with, for me at least. This is a sedge, a female flower and part of the male flower at the top of the stem. I wish I knew more. Possibly Green-ribbed Sedge? I thought the female flower was pretty striking.
A Dingy Skipper.
Hoverflies too are very difficult to figure out. It’s a shame; there are around 250 species in the UK and many of them are very striking, but also very similar to each other.
This distinctive leaf beetle is Cryptocephalus bipunctatus, which is another first for me, not surprisingly, since it is scarce in the UK.
I’ve photographed this dapper hoverfly before, but not been able to identify it, despite the striking shiny golden thorax. Now, I think I may have tracked it down; it is, perhaps, Platycheirus fulviventris. It’s a shame it didn’t open its wings, because, if I’m right, it also has a pleasing black and yellow pattern on its abdomen.
Another Dingy Skipper on Bird’s-foot Trefoil.
I’d been wandering around Gait Barrows, making my way to the cordoned off area, hoping to see a Duke of Burgundy butterfly. I didn’t.
But I did see this, which I think is a Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary.
I only hesitate because distinguishing this from the very similar Pearl-bordered Fritillary is best done by looking at the underside of the wings, but the sun shining through the wings here, nice though it is, has obscured some of the colours slightly.
None-the-less, I am reasonably confident, especially looking again at this last photo.
This looks like another place where fencing has been removed – or is this new material waiting to go up?
What I think is a Dark Red Helleborine with nascent flowers, which have since been eaten.
Gait Barrows Limestone Pavement.
Finally, on Moss Lane, some Alexanders. I’ve previously seen this growing in Cornwall and on the Yorkshire coast, but not here, so another first of a sort.
All of that in one walk and a good chat with a friend from the village I hadn’t seen for a while. How’s that?
Most of it was undertaken at snail’s pace. A bit like putting this post together! Both the walk and the research were highly enjoyable though.
Only one song springs to mind here…
Who was best Blur or Oasis?