Friday, 18 April 2014

Mid April

This sunny weather has certainly brought out far more insects than I usually see at this time of the year. Hoverflies started slowly but are now appearing in good numbers. Kev Rowley took Melangyna lasiophthalma at Pitsford and the moth trap there caught Parasyrphus punctulatus. A trip to Wakerley Great Wood with Roger Morris on 1st April produced a number of species visiting sallow blossom. Apart from the two species already mentioned, Roger found several Platycheirus discimanus. I was unable to catch these as my net handle was too short. They congregate high up, which probably explains why we get virtually no records of this species. There were also several Criorhina ranunculi visiting the sallow blossum. Apart from the hoverflies, Roger also found the furry tachinid Tachina ursina.

My garden is rather exposed to the wind but a trickle of hoverflies have been visiting. I am keeping a near daily count to send to Roger at the end of the season to contibute to his monitoring project. If you are interested in taking part details are on the Facebook UK Hoverflies pages. My first Epistrophe eligans of the year was on 9th April in my garden and this week it has turned up at several sites.

The first bee-fly Bombylius major for me this year was also in my garden on 29th March. They are prolific this year, as are the mining bees whose nests they parasitise. I took the following photos at Pitsford last week.

Craneflies are just starting to emerge. The moth trap at Pitsford took Tipula oleracea on 9th April and on 16th I found several Tipula vittata by a stream at Sulby Gardens. Whilst there I also found my first Rhingia rostrata for the season. It is amazing how quickly this species has spread across the county. When I started looking at hoverflies  around the millenium it had not been recorded in Northants and was considered to be a species confined to the extreme South-east and Wales.

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