Monday, 10 August 2015

The season for insects...

Summer is a great time for a wealth of invertebrate life. The fact that birdlife can be a little muted as migration comes to an end means that an even greater emphasis and attention is placed on the smaller inhabitants of our surrounding habitats and gardens. Moths are a classic and fascinating genera of fauna to study, coming a superb variety of shapes, colours and sizes- no matter where you are. Here on the island I run at least one, and occasionally two, small Heath Traps throughout the year, with a third being used at the observatory. Recording the daily wealth of species attracted to the small actinic bulb is the source of much pleasure- a few images are included below.

As flowers such as Hardheads, Thistles, Borage and Bramble come into bloom, a great variety of different insects can be found here too. Butterflies, wasps, bees, hoverflies and much more visit these nectar-rich flowers, providing a great place to observe these cool creatures. Again, I have included a couple of shots of my favourites below, but many more have been giving me a good challenge for IDing.

The Common Wave (moth) is a species that is relatively frequent in the willow beds in the lowland areas of Bardsey, being encountered most often during the day. I used a slight studio set-up and with a head torch to highlight the superb bipectinate antenna of this male

Grayling butterflies are a species encountered during July and August on the rocky areas at the top of Bardsey's mountain. We carried out a survey of the mountain on Friday to get an idea of the number present here- the result was a figure just shy of 80, including a mating pair

I find this species just too cool- the Ruby-tailed Wasp is my favourite hymenoptera species by a long way at the moment! 

This appears to be the nymph of a Green Shield Bug, walking gingerly around on a bramble leaf 

A new species for me, and one that has since showed up a few times: Ectemnius lapidarius

Six-spot Burnets are having a bit of a poor year on the island, perhaps due to the weather. Day counts so far this month have barely exceeded 10, whilst figures should normally be in the hundreds

A different take on this indoor-living Pholcus phalagioides

Honey Bees are busy gathering nectar from the flowering Bell heather to supply the colony just above the Schoolhouse


  1. Fantastic post Ben,superb Macro images.
    Love your Ruby-tailed Wasp,super detail all round.

  2. Hi John. Thanks for the kind comment. Glad you enjoyed the post!
    Keep up the good work on your end too.