Observing orchids

Observing orchids
Recently I have been helping with a project called Orchid Observers, at the Natural History Museum. The aim is to get members of the public to send in photos of 29 key species and also participate in a crowd sourcing project to help us check transcribed data on old herbarium sheets and help to confirm ...

Serious flooding at Moor Copse

Serious flooding at Moor Copse
Stopped in at Moor Copse on the way home today to check out how high the river is. Well, the answer is – VERY! Tidmarsh village flooded last week, after yet more rain, and one week on the water has receded from the woodland but it is still right up to the top of the river bank. ...

Dinocampus coccinellae at Hartslock

Dinocampus coccinellae at Hartslock
Last weekend, on a quick (and rather cold) trip to Hartslock, I discovered a 7-spot ladybird that had been attacked by Dinocampus coccinellae, a parasitic wasp. The wasp lives inside the ladybird eating its non-vital organs  until it is ready to pupate. Then the wasp larva cuts the nerves to the ladybirds legs so that it ...

New Forest – May 12th

New Forest - May 12th
Here are some photos from the Dipterist’s Forum Spring field meeting to Denny Wood in the New Forest.

Swyncombe Down

Swyncombe Down
Just a few photos from a quick “recon” visit to Swyncombe Down with Rod d’Ayala, ahead of our guided walk for the Reading & District Nat.Hist.Soc. on Sunday 18th (14:00). The weather was lovely and luckily I bumped into a very interesting chap who was there to repair some horse jumps ahead of their cross-country ...

Eggardon Hill

Eggardon Hill
Eggardon Hill is an ancient hill-fort, owned by the National Trust, south of Powerstock Common on the back-road from Beaminster to Bridport. Besides having the best views in the county it is an excellent place to see butterflies and downland flora & fauna. We saw Wall Brown in good numbers, along with lots of Small ...

Beaminster & West Bexington

Beaminster & West Bexington
The day started well when I saw a lovely Gold-ringed Dragonfly in the garden in Beaminster. They are a very rare species away from their normal haunts (Scotland, Wales & the West Country) and I had never seen one before. Later, at West Bexington, we managed to chalk-up quite a list of butterflies (Small Tortoishell, ...

Moor Copse & Pamber Forest

Moor Copse & Pamber Forest
Today was an absolutely glorious 28C and sunny (without a gale-force wind!) so I headed out for Moor Copse to see what I could find. I set off along the river bank accompanied by a chorus of 100s of Roesel’s Bush-cricket coming from the long grass. I soon saw Ringlets, Meadow Browns, Scarlet Tiger (sitting ...

Cogden by the sea 3

Cogden by the sea
(updated, now that I have seen the specimens under a microscope! ;)) Today’s jaunt was to Cogden beach (Dorset, SY502881) to pick up a bit of the sea air and have a look at the coastal flora. We got out early to get into the carpark before it filled up and headed down to the path ...

Hooke Park ramble 1

Hooke Park ramble
Today we went for a ramble through Hooke Park, a lovely piece of mixed woodland with wide rides and open, cleared areas. There’s everything from patches of Leyland Cyprus to open Beech woodland with carpets of Bluebells. The temperature was about 25C so everything was buzzing and the trees were surrounded by clouds of Bibio ...

Powerstock surprises

Powerstock surprises
Went over to Powerstock Common (West Dorset) today and, much to my surprise, I actually saw some good insects. Powerstock is a real gem of a nature reserve (mixtures of woodland, grassland & heath) but in the past I have failed to find much there in the Diptera line and the place was riddled with ...

A Spring walk round Moor Copse

A Spring walk round Moor Copse
There was less sun than the weather forecast had promised but it was still quite a mild day (18C) so I went for a troll round Moor Copse. There were plenty of Gymnocheta viridis on sunny fence posts and tree trunks but no other tachinids – just lots of muscids and calliphorids with a few ...

Moor Copse – 31st July 2010 1

Moor Copse - 31st July 2010
Funny field-trip today – started badly when I discovered that the Wildlife Trust had put cows into the only field with a decent patch of hogweeds and totally trashed it. Needless destruction of nectar sources really annoys me – they could have put the cows into another field while the hogweeds were flowering but no ...

Warburg Reserve – 18th July 2010 4

Warburg Reserve - 18th July 2010
Today I went for a quick walk around Warburg nature reserve, near Henley-on-Thames. The main idea was to check for Villa cingulata (a rare speciality of the site) and to generally have a look for tachinids. Villa were seen in good numbers around the visitor’s center, The Range and Big Ashes ride – at least ...

Moor Copse – 17th July 2010

Moor Copse - 17th July 2010
The cloud too a long time to clear so I only got out to Moor Copse after 2pm. Still, the insects didn’t seem to matter and the hogweeds were in full flower so it turned out to be a good day. Some highlights are: Nowickia ferox, Phasia hemiptera, Dinera grisescens, and a really amazing Silver-washed ...

Moor Copse – 3rd July 3020 3

Moor Copse - 3rd July 3020
I braved clouds of Cleg flies at Moor Copse today to take some photos and catch some flies. Saw lots of Dinera grisescens and Phasia obesa/pusilla-group and some Exorista rustica-group, a single Nowickia ferox and a superb Stratiomys potamida. One of the nicest sights though were dozens of Silver-washed Fritillaries flying along the river bank ...

Moor Copse – 12th June 2010 1

Moor Copse - 12th June 2010
Just a few tachinids today – lots of ragged Zophomyia temula and a few Tachina fera but no sign of any Eurithia yet. One nice highlight though was finding a mating pair of Scarlet Tiger moths on Comfrey. There were also quite a lot of dead Empis tesellata – parasitized by the fungus Entomophaga.

Moor Copse – 25th May 2010

Moor Copse - 25th May 2010
Today the weather has been sunny but not as hot as the previous 3 days so this lunchtime I popped down to Moor Copse to see what was flying. It wasn’t very busy but there were some nice tachinids – notably: a lot of Zophomyia temula flying in and out of the low vegetation; Thelaira ...

Back to the NHM again …

Back to the NHM again ...
Recently I had a few chances to go back to the NHM in London and work with the world Diptera collections – it was marvellous! I took along some of my larger & more spectacular specimens from North & South America and tried to identify them (with varying levels of success!). I also took lots of ...

Christmas, West Bexington & Cogden

Christmas, West Bexington & Cogden
Here’s a few photos from this Christmas – a few of us having our Christmas dinner and then some photos of the sea taken at West Bexington and Cogden Beach: