North Cliffe Wood – 27/09/2017

Intermittent sun, with a gentle south-easterly breeze blowing. This site is normally a great place to see Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta at this time of the year, so to only find one was a bit of a surprise. A nice male Southern Hawker Aeshna cyanea posed well, allowing close approach, making up for the lack of the former species. Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum the most abundant species, with a small number of male Black Darter Sympetrum danae also noted around the heathland pond. Butterflies were very under-represented, only singles of Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta, Comma Polygonia c-album and Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria noted.

Southern Hawker - Aeshna cyaneaSouthern Hawker – Aeshna cyanea

Southern Hawker - Aeshna cyaneaSouthern Hawker – Aeshna cyanea

Black Darter - Sympetrum danaeBlack Darter – Sympetrum danae

Spent time searching the heath for Heather Shieldbug Rhacognathus punctatus, however the only species found here was Bronze Shieldbug Troilus luridus, an adult and late instar nymph. A couple of Green Shieldbug Palomena prasina were also present along the woodland edge.

Bronze Shieldbug - Troilus luridusBronze Shieldbug – Troilus luridus

Bronze Shieldbug - Troilus luridusBronze Shieldbug – Troilus luridus

Green Shieldbug - Palomena prasinaGreen Shieldbug – Palomena prasina

Good numbers of Heather Beetle Lochmaea suturalis, the main prey item of Heather Shieldbug R. punctatus. The only other beetle noted was 7-spot Ladybird Coccinella septempunctata with good numbers found in the Gorse.

Heather Beetle - Lochmaea suturalisHeather Beetle – Lochmaea suturalis

Diptera wise, very little noted, with Myathropa florea, Eristalis tenax and Marmalade Hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus representing the Hoverflies, and
Kite-tailed Robberfly Machimus atricapillus the only other species recorded.

Kite-tailed Robberfly - Machimus atricapillusKite-tailed Robberfly – Machimus atricapillus

Other miscellany included Field Digger Wasp Mellinus arvensis, several present and a new species for me. A spider along the western path appears to be Metellina segmentata, the confusion species being a spring and early summer species. Spent time looking for Common Ground-hopper Tetrix undulata, but didn’t find any, however Slender Ground-hopper Tetrix subulata was a site first for me.

Mellinus arvensisField Digger Wasp – Mellinus arvensis

Metellina segmentataMetellina segmentata

Finally whilst on the heath, a sign of the changing seasons was the sight and sound of a skein of around 300 Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus heading south.

Full set of photos from this visit can be found on my Flickr site.