Sunday, 23 April 2017

Friday, 21 April 2017

Buffish Mining Bee, female [Andrena nigroaenea]

A very common Mining Bee which can be found in various habitats including farmland and gardens etc. The females excavate egg chambers in the ground, [on lawns, under shrubs, banks and even decaying brick mortar] where the eggs are laid, and food is also deposited in the egg chambers for when the grubs hatch.

Female Buffish Mining Bee which are larger than the males
and stockier
Female Buffish Mining Bee [which is covered in yellow pollen] starting to excavate an egg chamber
in my garden
An disused egg chamber of the Buffish Mining Bee

Female Nomada goodeniana a parasite Bee which lays it's eggs
in the egg chambers of the Buffish Mining Bee amongst others




































Monday, 10 April 2017

Bee Fly [Bombylius major]

The Bee Fly is common throughout most of Britain and spends most of its life hovering and feeding on nectar. The females flick their eggs down the entrance holes of Solitary Bees and Wasp nests. When the tiny larva emerge from the egg they find their way to the Bee/Wasp larva and feed on them.

A very freshly emerged Bee Fly warming itself up in the sun


Bee Fly feeding on Cuckoo Flower [also known as  Lady's-smock]

Orange-tip [male]

Male Orange-tips on [Cardamine pratensis] Cuckoo Flower and also known as lady's-smock, one of the larval food plants.







All photographs are the copyright of Nick Broomer

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Vespula vulgaris, Common Wasp

The already mated Queen hibernates through the winter months, emerging again in early Spring. She will then look for a suitable nest site, once this has been achieved, the Queen will then build a nest and play the first eggs. Female workers will emerge from these eggs, who will take over from the Queen, building the nest bigger and finding food for the next generation, [their siblings] while the Queen continues to lay eegs.

A already mated Queen thats close to hibernating
Photo, 22.10.2016
A freshly emerged Queen in early Spring

A photo of the Queens face, Vespula vulgaris
All Photos are the copyright of Nick Broomer

Orange-tip

The Orange-tip is one of Britain's first butterflies to emerge in early Spring, [not counting Britain's hibernators] and a much awaited arrival by nature lovers.

Female Orange-tip on Cuckoo Flower, one of the larval food plants
Male Orange-tip on a Pussy Willow flower
All photographs are the copyright of Nick Broomer

Monday, 3 April 2017

Peacock

After a long sleep through Britain's winter this hibernating Butterfly has finally emerged from it's slumber to enjoy the sunshine and, nectar from the early Spring flowers.

The beautiful Peacock can commonly be found soaking up the sun 0n the ground
in early Spring
Or very low down on vegetation

A peacock feeding on Pussy Willow flowers in early Sping














Small Tortoiseshell

Another one of Britain's hibernators enjoying the Spring sunshine of a long sleep.



Small Tortoiseshell on Cuckoo Flower


Small Tortoiseshell on Pussy Willow flowers, a favourite with a lot of insects in early Spring.

All photographs are the copyright of Nick Broomer

Comma

One of Britain's hibernating butterflies having recently emerged from it's winter sleep.










All Photographs are the copyright of Nick Broomer

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Silver-washed Fritillary

The Silver-washed Fritillaries are commonly found in southern England and Wales, and also parts of Northern and Southern Ireland.

Habitat    
They prefer sunny woodland rides but, can also be found on disused fields/meadows surrounded by trees and sometimes in gardens.

 Flight season
From the middle of June to late August and, are single brooded.

Food
They nectar on a variety of flora, including Thistles and Tufted Vetch, and their favourite, Bramble Flowers.

Adults
The undersides of the wings are similar in both sexes but, the male has four very distinctive sex brands/bars on the upper forewing [they look like three joined-up H's] which are absent on the female's forewings.

Male Silver-washed Fritillary nectaring on Bramble Flowers
Clearly showing the four sex brands/bars
Male Silver-washed Fritillary on Tufted Vetch showing the undersides of it's wings
which are similar to the females
Female Silver-washed Fritillary

There are many aberrations to this species, and some are quite incredibly beautiful.

A rare and unusual male Silver-washed Fritillary aberration
Another beautiful male Silver-washed Fritillary aberration
Courtship
The courtship is probably the most energetic of any butterfly, with the male chasing after the female down woodland rides and continuously looping the female, [continuously flying over the top of the female, then dropping back behind her and repeating this over and over again].

A male Silver-washed Fritillary [top] just completing half the loop
on a female in the courtship ritual
Eggs
Once mated the females lay their eggs [ova, ovum] on the moss covered bark of north facing Oak Trees, with Dog Violets close by. The eggs when first laid are a light yellow in colour, turning a bluey-grey after about two weeks and hatching a further week later.

A freshly laid Silver-washed Fritillary's egg thats been attached to
the Moss growing on the bark of an Oak Tree
A Silver-washed Fritillary egg after two weeks
This particular egg has not hatched, but has been sucked dry
by another insect
Hibernation
When the tiny larva hatch, and have eaten it's empty egg shell, they immediately bury themselves deep into a crevice in the bark of the Oak Tree, hibernating there throughout the winter months. They emerge again in the Spring.

All photographs are the copyright of Nick Broomer