Sunday, 2 July 2017

A Butterfly Bonanza

Last weekend I went to Keyhaven- I often go to the Lymington end of the reserve but this was the first time I started at Keyhaven. It's right on the Solent coast and has lots of marshy areas so is a fantastic place to see waders.

There were a few lapwings around trying to feed. They are fairly dull coloured birds but they have a beautiful sheen to them when viewed from the right angle.

I saw the occasional oystercatcher like this one. It kind of looks like it has caught a crab but I've zoomed into the photo and I think it's probably just a lump of grass or seaweed

There were plenty of birds that you'd expect to see on most stretches of water at this time of year like little egrets and mallards with ducklings. 

Usually in this area you can expect to find a black-tailed godwit or two but I was delighted to spot a whole flock of them. 

I looked up what the collective noun for godwits is and found that there are several- "omniscence", "prayer" and "pantheon". I can't really decide which is the best. 

The path at Keyhaven runs right along the top of the sea wall and I was amazed to see a group of turnstones wandering around on the wall itself, right next to the path. 

Several of them had particularly striking plumage, like this one. 

This individual is in breeding plumage and will return to the greyer colour of the others once the breeding season is over. I wonder if this might be an adult and the greyer birds it's nearly grown-up young. 

After a wet week it's been quite a warm weekend and this combination seemed to be good for the local butterflies. I saw all of these species within about two miles yesterday. 

Small White
Meadow Brown
Speckled Wood


Here's a view of the underside of a comma where you can see the punctuation mark which gives it it's name:

Another excellent view of an insect this week came thanks to this hoverfly, Myathropa florea

This is probably a male and you can see it is feasting upon the nectar of this flower. This species of hoverfly look particularly bee-like at first glance and this is to make predators think it is a bee that has a sting when in reality it has no defence at all. 

Red soldier beetles are particularly populous in the local area at the moment with lots of flowers covered in them. 

These beetles should be particularly welcomed by gardeners as the adults eat aphids and the larvae feed on slugs and snails. It's the ideal insect for helping control numbers of garden pests. 

Here's one more insect that is well camouflaged. 

I was at a bit of a loss to what this was as I've never seen anything like it before. With a bit of research I have discovered it's a speckled bush cricket. It's a flightless species of cricket and has black speckles if you look really closely, hence the name. Despite being quite common it's relatively quiet song and it's colouring mean it is really hard to fun. I'm pleased I managed to spot it.

That's all for now but I'll be back as usual next week.

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