North Cave Wetlands – 04/09/12

Lilly Pond

Lilly Pond

After a busy stint at work it was great to get out in to the fresh air with a visit to North Cave Wetlands. At first the weather was overcast, though the sun eventually came out, driving a welcome increase in insect activity. There were good numbers of Common Darters Sympetrum striolatum present with a welcome increase also noted in Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta numbers. There were still plenty of Common Blue Damselflies Enallagma cyathigerum making their presence felt around the site, though Blue-tailed Damselflies Ischnura elegans are now proving more difficult to find, as their season draws to a close. In one of the dragonfly ponds a female Emerald Damselfly Lestes sponsa was ovipositing into the stems of Juncus grass, closely watched by two males. As soon as she tried to fly to another stem, one of the male immediately pounced, grasping her behind the head to mate. The last dragonfly species encountered was Black-tailed Skimmer Orthetrum cancellatum, a restless male proving difficult to get close to, before finally dropping down in to dense vegetation, out of sight.

Common Darter - Sympetrum striolatum

Common Darter – Sympetrum striolatum

Common Darter - Sympetrum striolatum

Common Darter – Sympetrum striolatum

Common Blue Damselfly - Enallagma cyathigerum

Common Blue Damselfly – Enallagma cyathigerum

The second brood of Common Blues Polyommatus icarus were now very evident around the reserve, with a few Brown Argus Aricia agestis thrown in to challenge the identification skills, the underwing markings being the clincher, when separating them from female Common Blues P. icarus. Other species present, all in single figures included Small White Pieris rapi, Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria, Small Tortoiseshell Aglais urticae, Peacock Inachis io, Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas and Meadow Brown Maniola jurtina.

Small Copper - Lycaena phlaeas

Small Copper – Lycaena phlaeas

Common Blue -  Polyommatus icarus

Common Blue –  Polyommatus icarus

Brown Argus - Aricia agestis

Brown Argus – Aricia agestis

Brown Argus - Aricia agestis

Brown Argus – Aricia agestis

In  addition to the usual fare, a couple of Grasshopper species posed for their portrait, Lesser Marsh Grasshopper Chorthippus albomarginatus and Field Grasshopper Chorthippus brunneus.

Lesser Marsh Grasshopper - Chorthippus albomarginatus

Lesser Marsh Grasshopper – Chorthippus albomarginatus

Field Grasshopper - Chorthippus brunneus

Field Grasshopper – Chorthippus brunneus