North Cliffe Wood – 27/09/12

A sunny morning with light winds saw me head off to make the most of the light, and activity, before it was forecast to cloud over. The recent rain and winds have certainly had an effect on the dragonflies. No Ruddy Darters Sympetrum sanguineum present this time round, so their season is almost certainly over now at this location. Emerald Damselflies Lestes sponsa were difficult to locate, with only two individuals found, both remaining settled in the thick vegetation. A really mature male was photographed, judging by the damaged appendages at the tip of the abdomen, is no long able to breed, though it would now probably struggle to find a female. The only real activity around the pond were two male Southern Hawkers Aeshna cyanea, searching for females in the surrounding emergent vegetation, neither of them having any success. Migrant Hawkers Aeshna mixta were more noticeable, just making it in to double figures. Along with Common Darters Sympetrum striolatum, these two species will hopefully make it in to November, as long as we don’t suffer any severe frosts before then. The last species found was Black Darter Sympetrum danae, with at least two still present.

Migrant Hawker - Aeshna mixta

Male Migrant Hawker – Aeshna mixta

Migrant Hawker - Aeshna mixta

Female Migrant Hawker – Aeshna mixta

Black Darter - Sympetrum danae

Black Darter – Sympetrum danae

Emerald Damselfly - Lestes sponsa

Emerald Damselfly – Lestes sponsa

Butterflies were again in short supply. There were still plenty of Speckled Woods Pararge aegeria in evidence, however the only other species encountered were singles of Small Tortoiseshell Aglais urticae and Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas.

Speckled Wood - Pararge aegeria

Speckled Wood – Pararge aegeria

Small Copper - Lycaena phlaeas

Small Copper – Lycaena phlaeas

My previous outing to Allerthorpe Common revealed that shieldbugs were becoming more obvious. This was also reflected at North Cliffe Wood with several species observed. The first to be found were Green Shieldbug Palomena prasina, in both adult and nymph form, along the western footpath. This was also the best place to find Birch Shieldbug Elasmostethus interstinctus. On the heath, Gorse Shieldbug Piezodorus lituratus was easily found on the gorse bushes, some maturing to their late summer colours. A Forest Shieldbug Pentatoma rufipes was also found here. Whilst looking for the shieldbugs it was difficult to avoid the Garden Spiders Araneus diadematus, this being the time of year that they peak in numbers.

Forest Shieldbug - Pentatoma rufipes

Forest Shieldbug – Pentatoma rufipes

Green Shieldbug - Palomena prasina

Green Shieldbug – Palomena prasina

Green Shieldbug - Palomena prasina (nymph)

Green Shieldbug – Palomena prasina (nymph)

Gorse Shieldbug - Piezodorus lituratus

Gorse Shieldbug – Piezodorus lituratus

Birch Shieldbug - Elasmostethus interstinctus

Birch Shieldbug – Elasmostethus interstinctus

Garden Spider - Araneus diadematus

Garden Spider – Araneus diadematus