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

Thursday, 1 June 2023

Bumping into Beetles

On Monday, though the weather wasn't as great as it had been, we nipped down to Coombe Abbey park for a few hours of mainly wandering through decent woodland etc whilst avoiding the growing crowds of picnic-ers and families with kids / dogs. I was entomologically naked in most respects: no net, no pots, no real intention of looking for anything. But I did have the TG-6, you know - just in case ....

I'd seen quite a few interesting bits and pieces, but nothing extraordinary. And in one of those perfect moments that you cannot plan, and certainly don't happen when you are properly looking, as I stood next to a tree for a moment whilst Nichola read a sign I noticed a stonking Rhagium mordax at eye level and promptly got my camera out. Literally as I went to put my hand on the tree to steady the shot, I noticed a much smaller but altogether more colourful beetle. One that I immediately recognised and one that I'd not seen before! I couldn't quite believe it - even more so when the blasted thing dropped down to the floor. Whilst I stepped back and thought expletives to myself, Nichola ambled over and pointed up a bit asking what were these two beetles. A quick glance and incredibly it was a pair of Rhinceros Beetles in-cop. With another Rhagium mordax wandering past them. I had to poke myself a bit and get some photos; a reminder these were all on the same tree trunk within a meter or so of each other.

Rhagium mordax

Rhinoceros Beetle

Having got a couple of shots, I set about optimistically trying to find the dropped beetle. Only to find it scuttling back up the trunk and another one already on there - fantastic!

Thanasimus formicarius

The luck did not stop there. Having filled my boots with these beauties, we walked on and I noted a number of hoverflies including Brachypalpoides lentus which I should have tried to capture with the camera. Nichola pointed at some fungi growing off of a stump, which I mentioned were also good for beetles .... and there is one. I grabbed a couple of poor snaps before it settled albeit quite deep into a crevice. But, there was more than enough to confirm another new beetle for me.

Mycetophagus quadripustulatus

Seeing these just made an already relaxing and refreshing few hours walking around even better.

Here's a great track that's got nothing to do with the post; except maybe tenuously as they're scousers like The Beatles. These are just one of the bands that I am looking forward to seeing at the Isle of Wight Festival in a couple of weeks. Or at least hoping to, alcohol and overall programme permitting.

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