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WHITLINGHAM: August counts & Phasia hemiptera

15th August 2015

On Saturday I headed to Whitlingham to carry out the August wildfowl counts. Nothing unusual present, numbers with difference from 2014 equivalent in brackets are: Mute Swan 74 (+11), Greylag Goose 6 (-1), Canada Goose 3 (-2), Egyptian Goose 23 (+9), Mallard 120 (-13), Coot 44 (+16), Moorhen 3 (-4), Great-crested Grebe 4 (-4), Cormorant 17 (-2), Grey Heron 1 (-1). Gull numbers vary depending on the time of day so are less comparable, today there were 58 Lesser Black-backed Gulls. A Common Tern, Kingfisher, Marsh Tit and Swallow completed the avian interest.

Of the main insect groups a fresh Painted Lady was perched on a reed stem and several Migrant Hawkers were patrolling Whitlingham Lane. There were lots of Volucella inanis and Volucella pellucens hoverflies along the south shore of the Great Broad, along with two Hornets. I noticed a powdery mildew growing on Great Willowherb, which was new for me.

 903. Willowherb Mildew Sphaerotheca epilobii

My second new patch species of the visit was a small hoverfly called Syritta pipiens. I had noticed that there were loads of these small hoverflies feeding on Water Mint, and luckily they have distinctive swollen-looking femurs which allowed me to identify them.

904. Syritta pipiens

The second new patch species of the day was a type of shieldbug called the Parent Bug. They have this name because the adult stands guard over the eggs and then once they hatch, the young shieldbugs too. The ones that I found were late instars, so they had left the adult but not grown their wings yet.

905. Parent Bug

Next was a very interesting looking fly called Phasia hemiptera. They are big, but also look very wide, with rather unusual-looking wings and metallic colours. I'd never seen it before, although since seeing this one I've read that they have also been seen at Bacton Woods and Strumpshaw Fen over the weekend, so presumably there has been an emergence or they are having a good year.

906. Phasia hemiptera

Further along the path I noticed a digger wasp attacking a solitary bee. Many of these wasps are tricky to identify, but I thought this one looked vaguely familiar and I tentatively identified it as Cerceris rybyensis. This ID has now been confirmed by the county recorder for solitary wasps, Tim Strudwick.

907. Cerceris rybyensis

Flies are not a strong point of mine, but I did notice several large orange and black Tachinid flies, which are the distinctive species Tachina fera, which I have seen a few times before but not actually recorded.

908. Tachina fera

And finally of the species identified so far from Saturday, I noticed a small orangey-brown micro moth with white markings, known as Nut-bud moth.

909. Nut-bud Moth Epinotia tenerana

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