Yet another beautiful week has gone by and temperatures have hit 20C in the last couple of days. Hawthorn, willow and birch trees seem to have suddenly sprung into leaf and there are now plenty of insects around – a brilliant sight after the long invertebrate-less winter months!
I have now seen brimstone, peacock, small tortoiseshell and comma butterflies, my first Bombus pascuorum, (sometimes known as the common carder bee) of the year yesterday, freshly emerged tawny mining bees, Andrena fulva on Tuesday afternoon and there were up to 20 bee-flies, Bombylius major, around the public footpath by the woodland yesterday. However my best find of the week is a new species to Langford and what a stunning specimen it is….
I spent my lunch break up on silt lagoon 6 on Tuesday afternoon in blazing hot sunshine. Suddenly I noticed movement from a small gravel pile in front of me and as the creature emerged from the stones, I could see it was a green tiger beetle, or Cicindela campestris to give it it’s scientific name. Green tiger beetles are members of the ground beetle family (the Carabidae) and are iridescent green in colour with distinctive yellow spots on the wing cases. They are large beetles, up to 15mm in length and are common and widespread throughout the UK, inhabiting bare or sparsely vegetated ground such as sand dunes, clifftops, heaths and brownfield sites. The adults and larvae are predatory, feeding on smaller invertebrates including ants, flies and other insect larvae. Look for them in suitable habitat from the end of March – September.
Also on site this week we have seen the first swallows of 2012, spotted by volunteer Stuart Carlton over Phase 2 yesterday afternoon, tawny owl calling early this morning from the public footpath by the woodland, up to 3 Cetti’s warblers, 2 little egrets, 2 ringed plover, little ringed plover and green sandpiper. The two regular roe deer made their way across Phase 2 on Tuesday afternoon, much to our delight and the latest plants to come into flower include lesser celandine and ground ivy.