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 ticks so it put me off a bit. But today was much better.

This year has been incredibly warm & dry across most of England so everything is emerging early. We started off with Grizzled Skippers, which were plentiful and fairly easy to photograph and then saw a single Dingy Skipper, which was a very early record. The real moth-treats though were the 5 Broad-bordered Bee Hawkmoths (I’d originally thought Narrow-bordered but the tail had a divided black tip on the only very fuzzy photo I could manage) that buzzed around me for at least 20 minutes … they never quite settled but they were very easy to identify.

Then, as I picked my way carefully along the dry, dusty tracks (being careful to avoid brushing against long grass, where ticks lay in wait) I spotted 2 Green Tiger beetles buzzing around on the path.

The best was saved until last though, when I realised that all those big beeflies that I had been assuming were Bombylius major (because they always are!) were actually Bombylius discolor, a much rarer fly and a ‘first’ for me 🙂

PS: a female Gymnocheta viridis was seen host-locating in grass by the side of the path … a late record this year because I haven’t seen any for a few weeks, since the drought really took hold.

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