Back into East Yorkshire and a calm sunny Sunday morning saw me heading over to North Cave Wetlands before lunch. On arrival it was clear that the calm conditions meant that insect activity was high. The area in the south-west corner around Carp Lake proved to be the best area for the larger hawkers, with three species very active, in fact so active that none settle for more than a few seconds. Two male Emperor Dragonflies Anax imperator were busy patrolling the southern edge of the lake, occasionally coming into contact as they disputed their territory. Brown Hawker Aeshna grandis and Southern Hawker Aeshna cyanea were also in this area, though they were mainly involved in feeding activity. Several Common Darters Sympetrum striolatum were active and a few pairs were over the lake ovipositing. Common Blue Damselflies Enallagma cyathigerum were obvious, this site holding the largest abundance in East Yorkshire. Blue-tailed Damselflies Ischnura elegans were also easy to locate in this corner of the reserve. Four-spotted Chasers Libellula quadrimaculata were found around the Dragonfly Ponds along the northern boundary along with a single Black-tailed Skimmer Orthetrum cancellatum.
Common Darter – Sympetrum striolatum
Blue-tailed Damselfly – Ischnura elegans
Several butterfly species were on the wing with second generation Small Whites Pieris rapi starting to make an appearance, along with a handful of Small Coppers Lycaena phlaeas . Other species present included Green-veined White Pieris napi, Ringlet Aphantopus hyperantus, Meadow Brown Maniola jurtina, increasing numbers of Gatekeepers Pyronia tithonus, and finally single Comma Polygonia c-album and Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria. A 6-spot Burnet Moth posed well for the camera, one of our more attractive day flying moths.
Gatekeeper – Pyronia tithonus
Meadow Brown – Maniola jurtina
6-spot Burnet – Zygaena filipendulae
There was plenty of hoverfly activity, the most I’ve witnessed so far this year. After finding a “Sun-fly” Helophilus pendulus, one of the most attractive of the hoverflies, I found the very similar Helophilus trivittatus. They are very similar, though a little paler, the absence of a black stripe on the face being the best way to separate these two. Several other species were observed, the best of those photographed illustrated below.