30 Days Wild Pan-species Challenge: Day 25

Today’s lifer was a nice hoverfly which goes by the name of Eupeodes corollae, a common species which lives in virtually every corner of the British Isles. I found it on a road verge near my village, it was feeding on an Umbellifer amongst a plethora of Episyrphus balteatus.


Eupeodes corollae

It’s a prertty standard-looking hoverfly but they all count. I believe that the joined stripes on the abdomen are characteristic of this species.


30 Days Wild Pan-species Challenge: Day 23 and 24

Well, I did get my pan-species lifer yesterday, but I didn’t have time to blog about it. Have I failed my challenge? I think I’ve at least done enough to warrant carrying on.

Anyway, here’s yesterday’s lifer, a Rustic Shoulder-knot from the garden moth trap.

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Rustic Shoulder-knot

And today, whilst volunteering at RSPB Bempton Cliffs, I went to check out the Northern Marsh-orchids and I found this specimen which is literally days in not hours away from going over completely!


Northern Marsh-orchid

I got that lifer by the skin of my teeth.


Common Spotted x Northern Marsh-orchid?

I also saw this, which I think looks like Common Spotted x Northern Marsh, all of the orchids I saw on site resembled this bar the pure Northern Marsh mentioned earlier. It seemed darker than the photo shows but it could just be a very, very well-marked Common Spotted. I have indeed noticed that the strength of the spots on Common Spotted-orchids varies from site to site. Common Spotted x Northern Marsh has been seen on this site previously.

30 Days Wild Pan-species Challenge: Day 22

A bit of a conundrum today: I suspect this is Smicronyx jungermanniae, which would be a lifer, but I admittedly have no experience on whether this species needs microscopy or anything to confirm.


It was on a fencepost in a grassy area on Flamborough Head, but it could have been blown from anywhere as it was quite windy today and I would be extremely grateful if someone could shed a bit of light on this for me.

30 Days Wild Pan-species Challenge: Day 21

Today’s pan-species lifer was a pretty little sawfly that goes by the name of Athalia rosae, I noticed it flying along a border in my garden, a common species, but I’m quite taken with it.



Athalia rosae

It is separated from other very similar Athalia species by the orange on the thorax which results in a black ‘shoulder-pad’ effect as can be seen in the second photo.


30 Days Wild Pan-species Challenge: Day 20

This period for me is filled with university open days, and today fitted the trend. I went to the Oxford University day today, where the first bird seen in the city was a Red Kite.

Whilst sat in a talk I briefly noticed a large moth in the quad with lots of red on it, I toyed with the idea of it being a Scarlet or Jersey Tiger. Or had I just overestimated the size of a Cinnabar?

Later, when by the Bodleian I saw a definite example of a Scarlet Tiger. Surely one of the best moths in Britain?

Sadly it was too quick for a picture.

30 Days Wild Pan-species Challenge: Day 19

Unsurprisingly, given the perfect moth-trapping weather last night, I found my best catch of the year waiting for me this morning. With ten lifers making up their numbers!

My favourite was this female Map-winged Swift:


Map-winged Swift

Making up the large micro lifer contingent was this Grapholita janthinana:

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Grapholita janthinana

The scarcest moth in the trap was a Valerian Pug, also a lifer.

30 Days Wild Pan-species Challenge: Day 18

I got my second dragonfly lifer of the year today, an amazing Golden-ringed Dragonfly at the raptor viewpoint in Wykeham Forest, whilst dipping every good bird the area has to offer.

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Golden-ringed Dragonfly

I picked it up from a distance and thought that it had Golden-ringed jizz, with a thin abdomen which, when viewed from the side, curves upwards. I moved closer and confirmed my hunch. What a stunner!

Once again I apologise for the horrific quality of the photo but I was again getting used to my sister’s camera. Luckily, my camera now works so this shouldn’t be a problem any more!

This dragonfly is going to have to vie with the Banded Demoiselle for my favourite species of Odonata.

30 Days Wild Pan-species Challenge: Day 17

I got today’s lifer in quite an unexpected place, I was at a Leeds University open day and I rescued what I thought was a Phyllopertha horticola from a busy set of steps, but I took a picture and when I got home I realised it was a Welsh Chafer, Hoplia philanthus. Sadly, I discovered that many more had been trodden on on the steps.


Hoplia philanthus

I think there’s something funky about its single claws, they make it look really dainty, but at the same time they remind me of eagle or Velociraptor claws!

30 Days Wild Pan-species Challenge: Day 16

I’ve frequently mentioned the path I take to get home from college in this series of blog posts, but today I actually took some time to search for insects off the path in the meadow next to it. I was rewarded with this lifer, a stunning click beetle called Agrypnus murinus. Here it is:


Agrypnus murinus

I’ve heard it said that beetles seen in flight usually turn out to be interesting, and this one landed on my shirt. It really is exquisite with its mottled elytra and thorax, and in flight it shows a bright orange abdomen, so pretty distinctive! It looked completely different in flight in my peripheral vision, so much so that I wondered if I had the same insect that I had seen when I picked it off my shirt. Could this be an adaptation to look like a wasp or something poisonous (with bright colours) in flight, but be camouflaged when it is on the ground?

30 Days Wild Pan-species Challenge: Day 15

I’m half way through my challenge now, and I’m on track!

I’m pleased to say that today’s lifer was a solitary bee, a group which I’m really trying to make an effort in, and in my garden too. This is what I believe is what is known as Willughby’s Leafcutter Bee, Megachile willughbiella:


Megachile willughbiella

I apologise for the poor, out-of-focus shot but it was a quick photo on my phone, the bee was very flighty and active!

These have to be one of the best groups of bees, with their amazing leaf-cutting behaviour. I really want to see one in action sometime, I’ve seen them carrying leaves but never the actual cutting. However, this one I photographed today won’t be doing any of that as I believe he is a male.