Sunday, 20 October 2013

Late October 2013

A walk in Ravenstone Road Copse, part of Yardley Chase, last week produced only a few flies. Several small craneflies were disturbed from the ride edges and turned out to be Tipula pagana, one of the subgenus Savtshenkia. I then caught two more in my moth trap in the garden in Rothwell the next day. 

There were some spectacular fungi growing in the wood and several fungus gnats were seen disappearing under the caps of honey fungus Armillaria mellea. They kept flying into grass tussocks or onto a tree trunk and were hard to observe. I did manage to net some. They all turned out to be Mycetophila britannica males. There was also one lesser house fly Fannia parva in the net.
Honey Fungus Armillaria mellea

Mycetophila britannica on Honey Fungus (c) Jeff Blincow

A walk round my garden today only produced the one species of hoverfly, Helophilus pendulus. These are regularly sitting on the leaves of a variegated sedge at the side of my pond. I suspect the males are waiting for females as their larvae develop as rat-tailed maggots in the pond.
Helophilus pendulus taken at Boddington Meadow last year

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Early October

Most of September I was either in France & Germany or down with a heavy cold so I have not much to report.  I have done no field work on flies but have been helping with the Nene Valley Ecology Group's water invertebrate surveys and found several new beetles for me.

Anyway, back to flies. At the beginning of September my garden in Rothwell still held several Tachina fera, visiting marjoram flowers. Marjoram is a must have if you want to attract insects to your garden. I also noted Eristalis tenax, E. Pertinax, E. Arbustorum, Myathropa florea, Syritta pipiens, Eupeodes luniger and Helophilus pendulus hoverflies. Helophilus pendulus is still around the pond in early October.

On warm Autumn days like today one of the best ways to find nectaring insects is to look for some flowering ivy. I shall be searching the hedgerows and wood edges for suitable ivy patches over the next few days. There has been a large emergence of the long-palped cranefly Tipula paludosa and many are coming into the house. Later this month, its close relative Tipula subcunctans should be about.

Whilst trying to shake off my cold, I was able to catch up with identification of some flies that I took earlier this year. The Dipterists Forum held its Spring weekend field meeting in the Rockingham Forest area and I collected quite a few flies that I am still working through. The weather was poor for two of the three days so finding flies was hard work but I did add some new species for me. Titchmarsh Wood, part of the Souther Wood complex turned up Empis nigritarsis and the parasitic fly Lypha dubia.  I still have more to do so am hoping for other new finds.