The cooler temperatures are certainly reducing the number of active invertebrates. On Sunday, despite the lack of wind, temperatures struggled to reach 12 degrees. At North Cliffe Wood, with the exception of Common Darters Sympetrum striolatum, it was a challenge to find other species. I was expecting it to be a little easier to find Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta, however I only managed to see one, which I flushed from the ‘Juncus’ around the pond, it quickly dropping back into cover. A search around the edge of the pond did reveal two Emerald Damselflies Lestes sponsa hanging on. This is the latest date in the year that they have ever been recorded in East Yorkshire. A single Black Darter Sympetrum danae was still present, settling on anything light, trying to absorb as much of the reflective heat as possible. A single Southern Hawker Aeshna cyanea was the only dragonfly actively seeking out a mate around the perimeter of the pond. A second Southern Hawker A. cyanea was also found, settled on ‘bracken’, slowly devouring a fly. It was nice to find five species at this time of year, certainly more than I was expecting.
Southern Hawker – Aeshna cyanea
Common Darter – Sympetrum striolatum
Black Darter – Sympetrum danae
Emerald Damselfly – Lestes sponsa
Speckled Woods Pararge aegeria are now in decline, only found in single figures, mostly landing on the ground to make the most of the available heat. Despite the decline in numbers I did encounter a few more species than my last visit. A nice surprise was a very worn Brown Argus Aricia agestis, now struggling to fly. In addition to this late flying individual, two Green-veined Whites Pieris napi were also still on the wing. Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas still manages to hang on, making the most of a sheltered corner. Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta and Comma Polygonia c-album completed the list, though it is reasonable to expect to see these for another month or so before they hibernate.
Speckled Wood – Pararge aegeria
Small Copper – Lycaena phlaeas
Despite checking, I didn’t manage to find any shieldbugs on this occasion. Perhaps the temperatures were just to low for them to become active. I did however check out the Garden Spiders Araneus diadematus, this shot giving a different perspective from the usual dorsal view.
Garden Spider – Araneus diadematus