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

Monday, 14 September 2020

Emerald Ivy

I've had a bit of a weird day; a couple of slots of targeted searching for inverted life after an ultimatum that I've been fearing and expecting in equal measure. I won't go into details now; I've got to spend some time getting my head around the options, impacts, risks, for and against. I am actually off work this week, I'd booked it off a while ago and I will need to spend some time clearing the shed etc but - as today - hope to get out for a bit which will at least help me clear my head.

The first trip late this morning was out to Eyebrook Reservoir, with Nichola coming along for the ride. I had no intention of searching around the water for bird life, I just needed to stand at this bridge and stare intently ....

As you can see, there is a large willow overhanging the relatively still inflow to the reservoir. You can probably guess from that what I was looking for, but seeing them with bins was a lot easier than getting photos - there was just enough heat and sun to keep them active and just enough wind that whenever they settled they were moving anyway. Still, I got shots that are at least good enough to show the key diagnostic feature ....

Willow Emerald Damselfly - showing pale yellow pterostigma

This was first recorded in VC55 last year, at the same site and also somewhere around the Watermead complex. It's become clear this year that it has spread a little further, but not having seen them at all I wanted to go to a known site and get my eye in. They barely strayed from the willow, although I did see one on bank-side vegetation on the other side of the bridge. I saw two pairs in-cop and three singles during the half an hour that we were there.

After a nice lunch at our local farm shop cafe (nice that it is back open), I headed over to Croft Quarry with another target in mind. This site is excellent for solitary bees, their cleptoparasites and predatory wasps. So, I figured, this could be as good a site as any to look for Ivy Bee - as long as there was some decent stands of ivy around the hill which I could not recall seeing. I had a good walk around the perimeter of the hill but no ivy noted. Of course I took the opportunity instead to look for leaf mines and galls which will have to wait for another day. I knew there would be ivy along the roadside path and so headed along there in the hope that any foraging bees might venture that far.

Every bit of flowering ivy was busy along here in the full sun. Lots of yellowy-black insects, as expected ....

After noting plenty of Vespa spp. wasps, Honey-bees and various Syrphidae, I eventually reached a gateway the leads back out onto the road. Literally. The walls on either side of the gateway were smothered with more ivy than I'd seen anywhere else around the site.

As you can see, I've  taken these shots from the pavement on the opposite side of the road. To be able to look at this ivy required standing in the roadway between two blind corners in the path of oncoming traffic. This is not an major A road or anything like it, but busy enough!

Look left, look right. As it happened, whilst putting myself in the path of various sized and speed vehicles, I saw a number of these ....

Ivy Bee

This is another species that is only recently arrived in VC55 and is starting to spread, first seen in 2017.

Meanwhile, that decision won't make itself but I've got a few days to think. One more day won't hurt, and the tone of this suits my mood perfectly ....

No comments: