Sunny morning visit with a light westerly breeze. Small Red-eyed Damselfly Erythromma viridulum was again a challenge, however eventually found up to five present on the floating weed on Far Lake in the north-west corner, viewed through the gaps in the trees. Several Emerald Damselfly Lestes sponsa at the Dragonfly Ponds, though numbers seem to be quite low compared to previous years. Common Blue Damselfly Enallagma cyathigerum and Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans still in good numbers, some of the later females recently emerged as still in the immature colour forms. Managed to find my first Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta of the year. with a few hawking over Far Lake and a single over Carp Lake. Brown Hawker Aeshna grandis noted at several points, though as always, proving to be difficult to pin down to photograph. A single Southern Hawker Aeshna cyanea was along the butterfly walk. Still a few Black-tailed Skimmer Orthetrum cancellatum around the ponds with a single Ruddy Darter Sympetrum sanguineum still present. Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum encountered across most of the site.
On the Lepidoptera front, ten species of Butterfly recorded, Brown Argus Aricia agestis along the northern path being the highlight. Other species noted included Green-veined White Pieris napi, Large White Pieris brassicae, Common Blue Polyommatus icarus, Peacock Aglais io, Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta, Comma Polygonia c-album, Meadow Brown Maniola jurtina, Gatekeeper Pyronia tithonus and Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria. A couple of moths found on the walk around were a Mother of Pearl Pleuroptya ruralis along the western path, and Mouse Moth Amphipyra tragopoginis looking a bit sorry for itself in Turret Hide.
Of the True Bugs, Broad Damselbug Nabis flavomarginatus was a new site record for me, the site list steadily building. Two Hairy Shieldbug Dolycoris baccarum early instar nymphs were also new, I’ve only ever seen adults before, the nypmhs showing well where they get their name from. Blue Shieldbug Zicrona caerulea and Green Shieldbug Palomena prasina were also present. The aggregation of Nettle Groundbug Heterogaster urticae was still present on the nettles at the east end of the north path. Phytocoris varipes and Apolygus spinolae were also noted.
The first Helophilus trivittatus of the year were a welcome sight, with both Helophilus pendulus and Helophilus hybridus also present for comparison. Other species observed were Eristalis tenax, Eristalis intricarius, Eristalinus sepulchralis, Sphaerophoria scripta, Myathropa florea and Cheilosia pagana.
Along the northern path a new Beetle Anthocomus rufus was a welcome find, a mating pair on the brambles. Plenty of Cereal Leaf Beetle Oulema melanopus s.l. were in the north-west corner, possibly displaced from the north field now it’s been harvested. 22-spot Ladybird Psyllobora vigintiduopunctata and 7-spot Ladybird Coccinella septempunctata were the only other species noted, the later now dwindling in to single figures.
Finally on the invertebrate front, Speckled Bush-cricket Leptophyes punctatissima are now nicely mature, though still easily overlooked due to them being a perfect colour match for the brambles they reside on.
A little bit of bird interest on this visit, with a nice site tick in the form of a male Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus which has been present in north hedge and field for around a week. Good numbers of warblers around the site, Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca and a Garden Warbler Sylvia borin picked out from the more numerous species. Two Greenshank Tringa nebularia on Village Lake were also a new year tick. Several Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava were moving back and forth between the reserve and the north field.
Full set of photos from this visit can be found on my Flickr site.