North Cliffe Wood – 29/09/13

Took my daughter to North Cliffe Woods on a bug hunt, plenty to find and keep her interested. Dragonfly wise, Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta  and Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum were easy to find, though it was nice to find a female Southern Hawker Aeshna cyanea paying close attention to us before finally settling several metres away. As I approached to get a photo, a male had other ideas and rapidly grasped her from her resting place. After a minute of flying around they eventually settled, allowing a  close approach. The photo below shows how the male’s central anal appendage grasps on to the female between the front of the eyes, whilst the two lateral appendage grasp the rear of the head.

Southern Hawker - Aeshna cyaneaSouthern Hawker – Aeshna cyanea

Several Speckled Woods Pararge aegeria were very much the signature butterfly species today, with a couple of Commas Polygonia c-album and Small Coppers Lycaena phlaeas thrown in for good measure. However it was the bugs that were the main draw, though the Gorse Shieldbugs Piezodorus lituratus were a little tricky to get to in the gorse bushes. In addition both Red-legged Shieldbug Pentatoma rufipes, and my first Bronze Shieldbug Troilus luridus were also found. Further interest came from the Field Grasshoppers Chorthippus brunneus and Common Groundhoppers Tetrix undulata, all adding up to a great hands on experience and one happy customer.

Bronze Shieldbug - Troilus luridusBronze Shieldbug – Troilus luridus

Gorse Shieldbug - Piezodorus lituratusGorse Shieldbug – Piezodorus lituratus