Two of the things that kicked off my curent interest/obsession in ‘panrecording’ (ie trying to identify everything I come across rather than just going ‘Oh look a Blackcap – and there’s some sort of a wasp-like thing just below it…I think that’s what it is anyway…’) was a) moving to Great Chalfield where a lot more than just birds occur, and b) being in Bentley Woods last year with my mate Steve Covey. We were with a group from Wildlife Travel looking for Purple Emperors, but Steve was going on about the ‘longhorn beetle’ Rutpela maculata as well.
At the time I barely knew what a longhorn beetle was, and I certainly didn’t know what a Rutpela maculata was – but within about five minutes of arriving at the wood Steve had found one. It was crawling around an umbellifer and was quite a superb-looking insect, part mustard-coloured/part black with ridiculously long antennae. I wanted to see one at Chalfield…
Cut to this afternoon, and at last I got my wish. And as I was watching one another flew in, so I ended up with not one but two of these rather excellent beetles crawling around an umbellifer in front of me (if you’ve Hogweed growing near you go check it out NOW – it has to be the insect equivalent to the busiest supermarket on the high street).
Rutpela maculata, Great Chalfield, 19 June 2012
Leptura quadrifasciata, The Burren, Ireland, June 2012
What made the sighting so satisfying was that I had no idea IF the species would be here, but I was looking out for it and I found it.
And not only that I recognised it straight away. Mainly, I should admit, because I’d just seen a fairly similar longhorn in the Burren which I’d thought at first was maculata but was actually Leptura quadrifasciata (see photo above – and , yes, when you know the difference it’s obvious, but I’m still new to this!), but also because I’d been wistfully returning again and again to the gorgeous images on the Eakring Birds website which has photos of many other striking longhorn beetles which I’d also never heard of…
To cap off the whole experience, today’s maculata was actually the sixth species of longhorn beetle I’ve found at Great Chalfield since April! Yesterday I even stumbled across a Nationally scarce (Nb) longhorn – Anaglyptus mysticus!
Yes, I do live in an extraordinarily rich location, but trust me, if there’s any lesson to be learnt from all of this ‘panrecording’ it’s that if an untrained bod with short-sightedness can find these things then anyone can…
Anaglyptus mysticus (Rufous-shouldered Longhorn Beetle)
Great Chalfield, 18 June 2012
Agapanthia villosoviridescens (Golden-bloomed Grey Longhorn Beetle)
Great Chalfield, June 2012
Stenocorus meridianus, Great Chalfield, June 2012
All photos copyright Charlie Moores/Talking Naturally 2012