insectsandflight.com

all pictures © robin williams

June 2023: wildlife, from the Somerset Levels

June 26th 2023. It was interesting to come across a great many bumblebees this morning, after a recent drought in these fascinating creatures. The majority were Bombus hortorum, one of the commonest and most attractive of bumblebees over the years, but missing in recent seasons. What pleasure seeing them again.

bumblebee, Bombus hortorum f

bumblebee, Bombus hortorum f

bumblebee, Bombus hortorum f

bumblebee, Bombus hortorum f

bumblebee, Bombus hortorum f

bumblebee, Bombus hortorum f

cuckoo bumblebee, Bombus barbutellus m

cuckoo bumblebee, Bombus barbutellus m 

June 21st 2023. A short visit to the flats yielded some interesting results this morning. The cuckoo wasp remains somewhat of a mystery. I am pretty certain it is none of the three cuckoo wasps (jewel wasps) found here previously, Chrysura radians, Chrysis mediata or C. angustula. C.ignita seems a possibility, as the female has dark patches on the red gaster. My insect has a definite purplish band in the middle of the visible gaster. I must find an expert to consult.

 

cuckoo bee, Chrysis ignita

digger wasp, Crossocerus elongatulus

bumblebee, Bombus pratorum m

June 20th 2023. Another sign that matters may be improving at the flats was appearance of a couple of Osmia leafcutter bees, males exploring the nest holes for signs of females. Altogether more significant, was the appearance of parasitoids searching for completed and filled nests. A number of Gasteruption jaculator females, together with much smaller G. assectator females, were flying round the surface of the logs, stopping periodically to settle down with their ovipositor deeply inserted into a hole. 

 

parasitic wasp, Gasteruption assectator f

June 19th 2023. Another brief stint at the flats brought some leafcutter bees and an unfamiliar ichneumon.

leafcutter bee, Megachile centuncularis m

leafcutter bee, Megachile centuncularis m

leafcutter bee, Megachile centuncularis m

Ichneumon, Ephialtini

June 18th 2023. Leafcutter bees are appearing at last.

leafcutter bee, Megachile centuncularis m

leafcutter bee, Megachile centuncularis m

June 17th 2023. A most interesting day watching developments in the garden as various insects have started to emerge. My terrace pots are coming up to full flower at last, lavender, spurge and geraneum being prominent. Spurge ought to be added to my list of bere-friendly plants. It grows like a weed in the garden, but has really come into its own recently, with bees and hoverflies in particular.

mining bee, Lasioglossum morio m

mining bee, Andrena pubescens f

mining bee, Andrena pubescens f

mining bee, Andrena pubescens f

mining bee, Andrena pubescens f

mining bee, Andrena pubescens f

mining bee, Andrena pubescens f

mining bee, Andrena pubescens f on spurge

mining bee, Andrena pubescens f

 

mining bee, Andrena pubescens f

 

mining bee, Andrena pubescens f

solitary bee, Hylaeus confusus f

solitary bee, Hylaeus confusus f

solitary bee, Hylaeus confusus f

solitary bee, Hylaeus confusus f

June 8th 2023. Doing my usual stroll round the terrace and the so-dominant pink Ballerina rose, I topok a pictured of a bee in flight. I have pondered it, enlarged it, studied it, with no success. I have no idea what it is, other than a bee. Any ideas would be welcomed.

 

June 7th 2023. Much of my time was spent on the terrace, glued to what was happening to a new bee-house bought from NHBS earlier in the year. While Fiona's identical house is full of nests, mine has remained stubbornly empty. At last, there are signs of significant activity.

mason bee, Osmia leaiana m

mason bee, Osmia leaiana m

mason bee, Osmia leaiana m

mason bee, Osmia leaiana m

mining bee, Melitta hamorhoidalis

bumblebee, Bombus pratorum

hoverfly, Episyrphus balteatus

June 5th 2023. It was particularly interesting to find a bee on the Ballerina rose that I had never come across before. I could not place this furry female until I noticed the blunt end to the antenna, when it became more obvious.

mourning bee, Melitta haemorhoidalis     

June 4th 2023. It was a really beautiful day as well as a productive one. Ballerina, a small single-flowered rose, was in full flower producing the maximum amount of pollen and was full of mining bees seeking to take full advantage while they can.

solitary bee,  f

mining bee, Lasioglossum zonulum f

mining bee, Lasioglossum zonulum f

mining bee, Lasioglossum zonulum f

mining bee, Lasioglossum zonulum f

mining bee, Lasioglossum zonulum f

June 2nd 2023. At last Bombus pratorum, the small bumblebee normally among the first to emerge in our garden in any numbers, has appeared on its favourite plant outside the study. I really had begun to worry about whether they would appear at all this year.

bumblebee, Bombus pratorum

bumblebee, Bombus pratorum

June 1st 2023. The first day of June, another one of our invertebrate meetings and notable for the fact that neither Fiona or I had ever been down this particular track. As usual John M. was our leader, while Fiona D. and I were his disciples, eager to learn as much has we could. We met at the Ashcott car park at Shapwick Heath and turned westward, immediately turning left into a board walk which had recently been fully opened up. It was delightful, the sun poured down creating dense shadow and sunlit glades in the wetland surrounding us.

Alder leaf beetle, Agelastica alni 

Azure damselfly, Coenagrion puella m

Azure damselfly, Coenagrion puella m 

bumblebee, Bombus lucorum 

bumblebee, Bombus pascuorum m

Four-spot chaser, Libellula quadrimaculata

Scarce chaser, Libellula fulva m

Scarce chaser, Libellula fulva m

horse-fly, Tabanus bromius

Thick-kneed beetle, Oedemera nobilis m

Speckled wood, Pararge aegeria

 

Tortrix moth

hoverfly, Helophilus trittivatus f

 hoverfly, Helophilus trittivatus f