Intermittent sun with a moderate westerly breeze blowing. Temperatures in the mid to high teens. Not often that Reptiles get a mention, especially from North Cave Wetlands, though two species in one visit has to be noteworthy. A Common Lizard Zootoca vivipara was found sunning itself in the grasses along the north path. With only a handful of previous records, this is always going to be a chance encounter. Following this a Grass Snake Natrix natrix was found on the bank at the south end of Carp Lake.
Dragonfly-wise, was surprised to not be able to add Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta to the year list, though still a good number of other species to get after. Southern Hawker Aeshna cyanea was quite obvious, with several males plus a female observed, probably the best showing so far of this species here. Good numbers of Brown Hawker Aeshna grandis around the site, with a few Emperor Dragonfly Anax imperator also still present. Black-tailed Skimmer Orthetrum cancellatum numbers are now dropping off, though still one or two around, with the new Dragonfly Pond the best place to get good views. Four-spotted Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata appears to have now finished its season. Several Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum noted, but as per previous visits, numbers still seem low. A couple of Ruddy Darter Sympetrum sanguineum were still holding station on the Dragonfly Ponds. Azure Damselfly Coenagrion puella appear to have now finished, though Common Blue Damselfly Enallagma cyathigerum, Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans and Emerald Damselfly Lestes sponsa are easily encountered, the latter at the Dragonfly Ponds. Finally a Small Red-eyed Damselfly Erythromma viridulum was on Far Lake. Really need a scope to view these, only a distant record shot obtained, showing the characteristically up-turned abdomen.
A good range of butterflies around the reserve today, always photogenic, so several species hit the memory card. At least five Brown Argus Aricia agestis were along the northern path, at the west end of Reedbed Lake, with another single at the south end of Carp Lake. Several Painted Lady Vanessa cardui also noted, looking like a good year for this species. Other species recorded included Small Skipper Thymelicus sylvestris, Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni, Green-veined White Pieris napi, Large White Pieris brassicae, Common Blue Polyommatus icarus, Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas, Peacock Inachis io, Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta, Comma Polygonia c-album, Gatekeeper Pyronia tithonus, Meadow Brown Maniola jurtina, Wall Lasiommata megera and Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria. Moth-wise a few different species from previous visits included Nettle-Tap Anthophila fabriciana, Common Carpet Epirrhoe alternata, Straw Dot Rivula sericealis, Dusky Sallow Eremobia ochroleuca and Silver Y Autographa gamma.
An interesting day with the True Bugs with a few new and attractive species found. New species included Javesella pellucida and Chilacis typhae, the latter found on the heads of bulrush at the south end of Carp Lake. A good aggregation of Nettle Groundbug Heterogaster urticae were along the eastern end of the northern path, easily in to three figures. Best looking bug of the day goes to Blue Shieldbug Zicrona caerulea, with both and adult and early instar nymph present. Other bugs noted included Deraeocoris ruber, Heterotoma planicornis and Tree Damsel Bug Himacerus apterus.
Hoverfly numbers were low, with much reduced numbers of Marmalade Hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus around. Most others species only noted as singles as follows:- Myathropa florea, Eristalis pertinax, Leucozona lucorum, Chrysotoxum bicinctum and Sphaerophoria sp. Other flies included Sepedon sphegea at the Dragonfly Ponds, Conops quadrifasciatus and a Chloropidae species.
A Golden-bloomed Longhorn Beetle Agapanthia villosoviridescens was a nice find along the northern path, my latest date for this species. Donacia vulgaris was a new personal site record, two present on the bulrush stems in the Dragonfly Ponds. Other species noted included Cereal Leaf Beetle Oulema rufocyanea/melanopus agg, Harlequin Ladybird Harmonia axyridis, 7-spot Ladybird Coccinella 7-punctata and 22-spot Ladybird Psyllobora vigintiduopunctata.
Other miscellany included Alder Sawfly Eriocampa ovata and Speckled Bush-cricket Leptophyes punctatissima into double figures.
Bird-wise, the only species noted were a Dublin Calidris alpina and Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the Silt Lagoon.
A full set of photos from todays visit can be found on my Flickr site.