Saturday, 25 July 2009

Thistle down the wind

After the monsoon like rain yesterday I wouldn't have been surprised if much of the wheat had been beaten to the ground, but it was still waving in the wind today.

The fields themselves are not particularly good for wildlife but fortunately there are still many "weedy edges" around Bockhill.

One of the most important groups of wildflowers growing in these margins are the thistles. At the moment they are in flower and covered in insects. Since I find them really difficult to ID I'll leave that at them moment and hope that someone does if for me before I try again,when I have more time.(Susan says probably Bombus lapidarius)

Another Bumble bee, possibly hortorum? (Susan says probably B. sylvarum) busying itself. I was so windy that I found it hard to get sharp images.

I think that this is the first Dusky Sallow moth that I have seen feeding in daylight. UKMoths (website) does say that it can be found feeding on flowers as well as being attracted to light. It is sharing this flower with a Hoverfly, Episyrphus balteatus.

Another pair of flower mates, a Large White and a beetle, Oedemera nobilis. The larvae of this green beetle live in the stems of various herbs.

The Gatekeeper, here nectaring on this thistle flower is particularly fond of bramble patches.

This time of year is also great for bumping into Dragonflies hawking around the hedgerows. They can be miles from water and spend their time, like small Hobbies catching small insects. This immature male Southern Hawker, Aeshna cyanea, was patrolling along the Droveway as I left the farm.
A close up of the head shows how the huge eyes dominate, and you just just see the small antenna above the frons.
No good reason to put this in, except that I like the picture, I like the scabeus and of course it's another excuse for a picture of this years dominant feature, a Painted lady.

I started with a field of wheat, but is that going to be history and is the flax above going to be the future? Well more and more of it is being grown now, although how they get enough oil out of those tiny little seeds to make it worthwhile is a mystery to me.


Susan said...

Bumblebees: I would say Bombus lapidarius and B. sylvarum, but it is difficult to be absolutely certain with photos and only one shot of each.

Thistles: Spear Thistle Cirsium vulgare and Marsh Thistle C. palustre. Again, difficult to be sure because the photos don't give a sense of the whole plant.

Tony Morris said...

Thanks Susan, I hoped you'd come to my rescue,