Birds, Leps, Observations & Generalities - the images and ramblings of Mark Skevington. Sometimes.

Sunday 12 April 2015

Northam Burrows, North Devon

We've had a cracking week down in Devon with some superb sunshine and warm weather. Amongst our days out enjoying the weather, on Thursday we headed out for a walk around Northam Burrows Country Park. This site is a mainly dry grazed grassland (there are a couple of more marshy bits) and coastal dune system around a links golf course on the north-west coast, right at the mouth of the Taw/Torridge estuary. And very good it turned out to be for my beetle list too! Whilst I had gone prepared to pot up a few bits if anything caught my eye, I wasn't really expecting too much. Skylarks were in full swing as we set off, a pair of Stonechats were near the car park and there were a few Linnets and Meadow Pipts flitting about.

As soon was we'd reached the ridge of stones and boulders that separate the grassland from the estuary, I found a couple of Wheatears.

I'd already potted up a couple of beetles up to that point, with the best being an 11-spot Ladybird. Lots of Amara aenea. Harpalus affinis and Aphodius prodromus were actively scuttling about, and also lots of Staphylinids that I studiously ignored.

11-spot Ladybird

Further along, more onto the sea-ward side rather than the estuary, the dunes became more substantial and it was then that the beetle activity really took off. I noticed that on the 'face' of every dune there where loads of beetles - no idea why, most looked to be actively trying to get away rather than being in the ideal place.

I set about potting anything that looked slightly different, and ended up with a good variety to check out. But with my family and nephews in tow I was a bit constrained, plus we were all starting to feel in need of our picnic so we headed off across the golf course back to the car. By then it was pretty warm, so hot in fact that the sheep had taken to the shade of other peoples cars.

I was so enthused by the amount of beetles though that I nipped back for another look on my own the next day and promptly potted up a few more interesting looking individuals, plus a couple of spiders. Some of the highlights from all this were these:

Mecinus circulatus

Melanimon tibialis

Phylan gibbus

Otiorhynchus rugifrons ovatus

Pardosa nigriceps

Pirata piraticus

Overall I ended up with 8 new beetles, with the three not pictured here being Agonum marginatum, Pterostichus nigrita and Amara lucida.


oldbilluk said...

A lovely haul Skev. Beetles on dune slopes is a common thing, they get stuck there, trying to run up the dunes and then falling back in a sand avalanche. Some nice species there though, I must pop over there and have a look soon :-)

Skev said...

Thanks Bill. They certainly were falling in a sandalanche - I noticed quite a few dead beetles too. I reckon a good poke about in the sheep dung could be productive there too! Just watch out for wayward golf balls whilst out on the grassland.

Unknown said...

Some nice beetles! You have ignited a desire to pop up there for the day.