Monday, 15 April 2013

Mid April 2013

The milder weather over the weekend should have stimulated some hoverfly activity. I spent the weekend helping with wetland invertebrate monitoring in the Nene valley, so did not get chance to hunt for hoverflies. However today I had a good look round the garden - nothing found, so I visited Stoke Wood in the afternoon. Although there was a stiff breeze blowing, the main ride was sheltered and catching the sun when it appeared.  There were plenty of primroses and wood anemones to provide nectar and some sallows were in flower too. I did not see a single fly visiting flowers! However, I did find Eristalis tenax, the drone fly, sunning on the ride edge. The only other hoverfly I found was Ferdinandea cuprea which was sitting on a newly cut stump. This species is associated with ancient woodlands, where its larvae live in sap runs. It is not a frequent visitor to flowers and is more often seen on tree trunks or logs.

Eristalis tenax, the drone fly

Ferdinandea cuprea

Apart from the two hoverflies, there were a few common yellow dungflies Scathophaga stercoraria and the odd anthomyid fly. Other wildlife included a common toad, a peacock butterfly, singing chiffchaff and green woodpecker. Over the field on the track into the wood a single buzzard circled and three lapwings flew across.

With only four species of hoverfly to date, I felt that it had been a slow start to the season but, looking back to last year, when we had a good start to the Spring, I had only seen 4 species by mid April then. I had received records of another 3 species from other people, whereas so far this year I have no other hoverfly records. So, despite the cold weather, things are not so bad.

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