insectsandflight.com

all pictures © robin williams

April 2024 - wildlife: from the Somerset Levels 

April 24th 2024. Two plants have taken advantage of a warmer, windless day in the sunshine. A patch of Ramsons in the orchard stands out against the rest of the herbage, while an old bush of Berberis darwinii was clearly dripping with nectar, covered with bumblebees. I planted the Ramsons many years ago, but they did not appear until four or five years ago when the start of the patch appeared, glowing among the green grasses. Now it is spreading and should prove a permanent sight whatever we do. The tiny workers were busy on most of the flowers.

 bumblebee, Bombus pratorum w

bumblebee, Bombus pratorum w

bumblebee, Bombus pratorum w

 

bumblebee, Bombus pratorum w

bumblebee, Bombus pratorum w

bumblebee, Bombus pratorum w

This is the second time I can remember this bonanza of bumblebees on the old Berberis darwinii, the other some three years ago. It may not be so significant if I simply did not catch it on exactly the right day in other years, for it seems to be a short, furious period of optimum nectar production - or did I not walk the garden on the crucial time?. 

bumblebee, Bombus terrestris q

bumblebee, Bombus terrestris q

bumblebee, Bombus terrestris q

bumblebee, Bombus terrestris q

bumblebee, Bombus terrestris q

bumblebee, Bombus terrestris q

 

bumblebee, Bombus terrestris q

 

bumblebee, Bombus terrestris q

bumblebee, Bombus terrestris q

bumblebee, Bombus terrestris q

bumblebee, Bombus pascuorum f 

April 18th 2024. A fairly varied collection of pictures out on the terrace on a day sunny enough to bring out the insects.

bumblebee, Bombus pascuorum q

bumblebee, Bombus pascuorum q

social wasp, Vespula vulgarum f

hoverfly, Melanostoma scalare m

hoverfly, Melanostoma scalare m

hoverfly, Platycheirus spp. f

flower bee, Anthophora plumipes f

flower bee, Anthophora plumipes f

April 17th 2024. I have been concentrating my photographic efforts on a small patch of Lungwort out on the terrace. This is in a sheltered position even when it is blowing, which it has been for an inordinate period recently. One thing I noted was the number of hoverflies out in most weather, but they all proved to be Rhingia campestris.

bumblebee, Bombus pascuorum q

bumblebee, Bombus pascuorum q

bumblebee, Bombus pascuorum q

hoverfly, Platycheirus spp. m

Later, that afternoon, I tried another session as the wind died down and the sun was continuing, bringing out more insects.

April 14th 2024. A rare fine morning at last. Sat on a comfortable seat close by the edge of the Lungwort, most notable of early plants for insects. 

bumblebee, Bombus pascuorum q

bumblebee, Bombus pascuorum q

bumblebee, Bombus pascuorum q

bumblebee, Bombus pratorum q

Honeybee, Apis mellifera w

hoverfly, Rhingia campestris f

hoverfly, Rhingia campestris m

April 13th 2024. A another sunny day, though the wind was sharp out on the terrace. A few bumblebbes ventured out at midday. 

Honeybee, Apis mellifera w

bumblebee, Bombus pascuorum q

bumblebee, Bombus pascuorum q

bumblebee, Bombus pascuorum q

bumblebee, Bombus pascuorum q

bumblebee, Bombus pascuorum q

 

 

April 12th 2024. This time, the concentration on the terrece was that same tough little hoverfly that seems to keep on going for ever. 

hoverfly, Rhingia campestris f

hoverfly, Rhingia campestris f

hoverfly, Rhingia campestris f

 hoverfly, Rhingia campestris f

April 9th 2024. I set off to visit Catcott Lows but the only matter of note was numbers of Greylag gees, with babies. On the way back going towards Westhay I stopped by the ponds just after the peat works corner to see if there was anything ineresting - though there have not been anything this winter. Instead, there was a very dark and white harrier floating over the reeds. This bird was a beautifully coloured male. He continued to hunt the while pond area for some considerable time. I continued to click away, although the lighting was not perfect in its direction, even though the sun was shining. Fantastic!

Greylag goose, Anser anser 

 Greylag goose, Anser anser

Greylag goose, Anser anser

Marsh harrier, Circus aeruginosus m

 

Marsh harrier, Circus aeruginosus m

Marsh harrier, Circus aeruginosus m

Marsh harrier, Circus aeruginosus m

Marsh harrier, Circus aeruginosus m 

Marsh harrier, Circus aeruginosus m

Marsh harrier, Circus aeruginosus m 

April 6th 2024. A brief visit to Catcott Lows to catch some of the rare sunshine so far this month, as was true of the previous one. Surprisingly, there were more duck still hanging on for the time of year. Also, the Spotted redshank was still present, together with a Little egret hanging out with a splendid male Shoveler. The resident Marsh harrier put ina number of visits but mostly far off.

Spotted redshank, Tringa erythropus

Spotted redshank, Tringa erythropus

Marsh harrier, Circus aeruginosus f

Balances in life continually alter. Little egrets started being present in large numbers in their early years, then came the invasion by Cattle egrets, after Great white egrets. Little egret numbers have suffered in recent years but this year they have had another revival; they are so obvious in their dead-white plumage, as well as so welcome.

Litle egret, Egretta garzetta & Shoveler, Anas clypeata m 

Mallard, Anas platyrhynchos m

April 4th 2024. A few insects appeared on the terrace, hopefully the first of many. 

hoverfly, Platycheirus albimanus f

hoverfly, Melanostoma scalare m

hoverfly, Melanostoma scalare m 

hoverfly, Melanostoma mellinum m

bumblebee, Bombus hortorum q

bumblebee, Bombus hortorum q

April 1st 2024. It was an interesting experiment. I tried out a full-frame Nikon D750 for use in insect photography. They proved quite remarkable in terms of the degree of magnification that could be obtained, perfect for such as bumblebees. However, I felt that this would not really work for the tiniest of Lasioglossum which are particular targets for my work. 

bumblebee, Bombus hortorum q

 

bumblebee, Bombus hortorum q

bumblebee, Bombus pratorum q

 

bumblebee, Bombus pratorum q

hoverfly, Melangyna mellinum m