Friday, 1 July 2016

A Wealden Wood in June

Earlier this week I decided that it was time that I identified a colony of Bumblebees that had taken up residence in one of our nest boxes in the garden. With reference to my recently purchased "Field Guide to the Bees of Great Britain and Ireland" by Steven Falk, I concluded that they were Tree Bumblebees (Bombus hypnorum), a species that was first recorded in the UK in 2001 having arrived from Europe. Since then it has rapidly colonised much of England and Wales and has now been recorded in Scotland. With the worry over declining bee populations in the UK in recent years, the arrival of a new species sounds like good news.
Tree Bumblebees (Bombus hypnorum)

Yesterday, I headed off to a favourite wealden wood in search of butterflies. By late June, our summer woodland species are either already on the wing or just coming into their flight season. The morning was overcast and overnight rain and warm temperatures gave a mild and humid feel as I walked along the rides; perfect weather to entice butterflies to sit around on the undergrowth with their wings open.
Meadow Browns are numerous and Ringlets abundant in this damp woodland.
Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina) (female)

Meadow Brown (M. jurtina) (male)

Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus) (male)

Ringlet (A. hyperantus) (female)

Black-and-yellow Longhorn Beetle (Strangalia maculata)

The White Admiral is one of my favourite butterflies and every year I keenly await its emergence. This master flier has a nebulous quality about it as it glides around the treetops or flits and glides in and out of the shade looking for egg laying sites. It is beautiful to watch.  
White Admiral (Limenitis camilla) (male)



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