Apropos of absolutely nothing at all, here are some random photos taken between July 4th and 18th at Great Chalfield in Wiltshire (VC7), the National Trust-owned estate I’m lucky enough to live on. I’ve promised that I’ll get all my records entered on a national database over the winter, but right now I’m up to me eyes just trying to identify the things I’m finding…still, the rewards are immense, and it’s great fun learning about British wildlife after 35 years of ignoring virtually everything if it didn’t have feathers!
Incidentally, the IDs are largely my own (with a few notable exceptions mentioned below for which I’m very grateful) – please let me know if Ive got something wrong. All part of the learning curve for many of us neophyte dipterists/entomologists/coleopterists etc etc IMHO…
Eriothrix rufomaculata: A widespread tachinid fly. A what fly now? Allow the excellent Chris Raper of the Tachinid Recording Scheme (who confirmed the ID for me) to explain…
Grypocoris stysi: One of our more colourful mirid bugs, for more information have a look at the British Bugs website.
Mating Large Skippers Ochlodes faunus: Probably the commonest of the skippers at Great Chalfield, good numbers have emerged ln the last few weeks.
Poecilobothrus nobilitatus: A distinctive ‘signalling fly’ fairly widespread in southern Britain, and often seen resting on mud or – as here – on the water surface itself like a pond skater. I found several on one of the many (hopefully) temporary puddles that this ‘summer’ has bestowed upon this country of ours…
Sciara hemerobioides: Another widespread (though under-recorded) southern fly, this small-headed, dark-winged insect belongs to a group called fungus gnats. The larvae feed on fungi but also eat dead leaves and compost, while the adults feed on nectar and can be found (as in this image) on umbellifers and other flowers in the summer. Thanks to Mark Lawlor for the ID (and the excellent Naturespot website for confirmation
Sicus ferrugineus: A thick-headed fly in the Conopidae, this wasp-like species is a endo-parasite of bees and wasps – after mating fertilized females lay their eggs singly between the abdominal segments of bumblebees which they ambush in flight. The larvae hatch quickly and then eat their way into the abdomen of the host, hollowing it out gradually, where they pupate and overwinter.
Urophora stylata: This very small but interestingly patterned fly is a species of tephritid. It’s usually found on the larval host plant, which in many cases – and certainly around here – is Spear Thistle Cirsium vulgare.
Xanthogramma pedissequum: One of my favourite hoverflies, this beautiful and striking species is fairly common below a line from the Wash to about north Wales.
All photographs copyright Charlie Moores/Talking Naturally 2012