30 Days Wild Pan-species Challenge: Day 14

My lifer was not a moth today! I noticed these exquisite, nettle-associated Myrid bugs, Grypocoris stysi on a nettle bed in an unkempt corner of a churchyard near my house. Here is one:

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Grypocoris stysi

They’re pretty common, being nettle feeders, and they’re distinctive and eye-catching so this is a great species to look for if you want to get started on Hemiptera. I seem to have been neglecting Hemiptera a bit, with only 30 species on my list.

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30 Days Wild Pan-species Challenge: Day 3

I’m back in East Yorkshire now after a brilliant week in Norfolk but on the way back we visited Snettisham Coastal Park. We didn’t have time to visit the RSPB reserve, and in any case, the tide was way out so all of the birds were on the sands, too distant to really see even with a scope.

However, there were a few of these stunning soldierflies sunning themselves on the edge of a boating lake. They are Broad Centurion, Chloromyia formosa (perhaps so called because of their shiny, metallic colouration?) and my pan-species lifer for the day. I have seen centurions before but I’ve never tried to identify them.

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Broad Centurion

There were couple of Common Terns on the lake they were near and Lesser Whitethroat, Cetti’s and both Acrocephalus warblers were all singing.

30 Days Wild Pan-species Challenge: Day 2

Day 2 of my challenge and I’m still on track.

Today, I visited Wells Woods in Norfolk and I noticed this moth fluttering about near the edge of the pines on the beach side. It’s the pretty, but common, Common Wave (clue’s in the name). I probably should have seen this species by now but they all count!

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Common Wave

I also noticed this weevil that I believe is Philopedon plagiatum, also a new species for me. They are all around the dunes there (they are associated with Marram Grass) and they’re quite variable.

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Philopedon plagiatum

Other (non-lifer) highlights of the day included Sandwich Terns and this nest of Great Spotted Woodpecker.

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Great Spotted Woodpecker chick in nest hole

30 Days Wild Pan-species Challenge: Day 1

How the series will work:                                                                                                               For this year’s 30 Days Wild project I have decided to set myself the challenge of finding and blogging about at least one pan-species lifer on every day of the month of June. I’m probably going to target some birds and butterflies but aside from that I’ll see where the road takes me.

For those of you who don’t know; pan-species listing is the act of keeping a list of all the species you have seen in Britain, much as many people (including myself) do for birds.

Pan-species listing is a great way to make sense of all of the more obscure taxonomic groups in our country and a link to the website can be found here: http://www.brc.ac.uk/psl/.

At the beginning of the month, my list stood at 1437 species and if anyone sees that I have identified anything wrong, please let me know!

Day 1:                                                                                                                                                   We kick off the series in North Norfolk, and this morning I hit Burnham Overy Dunes as I have been doing recently, mainly looking for migrant birds which have all but failed to appear so far. However, the insects have been good value and today was no different; I found the extremely rare, beautiful, North Norfolk-restricted Clanoptilus barnevillei, on a hawkweed flower. It is our only malachite beetle with all-green elytra, my first lifer of the day and one with great rarity to boot.

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Clanoptilus barnevillei

My family and I then got a bus to Holkham and walked back to Burnham Overy through the dunes and pines. Along the edge of the pines I was looking for the pits of the larvae of Suffolk Ant-lion, Euroleon nostras, which, like Clanoptilus barnevillei is rare and restricted to sandy soils. I had a little experience in this as I had found a pit on the edge of the trees next to the Burnham Overy Dunes, though I had failed to observe any activity.

After not too much time looking, I located a pit, and as soon as I tickled the side of the cone-shaped pit with a piece of grass and the larva started flicking sand at it and eventually attempted to grab the grass with its jaws. Crazy things!

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Ant-lion

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Ant-lion pit

Being in such an amazing dune system there is inevitably more lifers which need identifying, but I have picked the most impressive. Not a bad start to the series!