Started as a Hoverfly and ended up at a thistle....

Pied Hoverfly  (Scaeva pyrastri)


After my trip to Adel church I called in at Golden acre park to see the flowers, a place I have visited many  times to photograph and feed the birds. During the summer months the large gardens are beautiful.
Golden acre park 12 July 2017







Common red soldier beetle

 The day was warm so there were plenty of insects, the black and white stripes of the hoverfly were stunning and it was quite large for a hoverfly when you are just used to seeing the small Marmalade hoverfly(Episyrphus balteatus) in your back garden. I was later to find out it is called Pied Hoverfly  (Scaeva pyrastri)
The hoverfly book came out when I got home, Iv'e had it a few years now and the photos are very good, but like any new subject from wildflowers to moths if you are new they all end up looking the same, so that's why it went back on the shelf. Well this year with the help of Twitter and UK Hoverflies on Facebook I am giving it a go.

A morning looking at "Insects on the wing" at Denso nature reserve didn't go to plan due to the rain, but I  managed to find some nice snails.

Kentish Snail - Monacha cantiana

Amber Snail - Succinea putris

This week was a trip to Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits Local Nature Reserve to do a Big Butterfly Count ,  I managed to see 34 butterflies but the highlight was a Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus)

 Ben Rhydding Gravel Pits Local Nature Reserve 18 July 2017


Speckled wood ( Pararge aegeria)

 Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus)

Comma Butterfly  ( Polygonia c-album)



Eristalis nemorum Hoverfly

 Cinnabar moth caterpillar  on Ragwort


With a new interest in Hoverflies I ventured up on to Yeadon Banks, there is a field full of Ragwort and thistles, a good place to look for wildlife.



Yeadon Banks


Horses  keeping cool


Spear Thistle (Cirsium vulgare 19 July 2017


Along the path there were some rather large Spear Thistles growing, taking the time to look closely I was surprised by how much was going on in just one plant, some might call it a weed but it's so important for many insects.

Pied Hoverfly  (Scaeva pyrastri)


Plenty of Hoverflies and bees, I just love the different faces on the Hoverflies, spiders too were making most of all the insects available, fast food on the door step.

Spider store 

 7 Spot Lady birds were amongst the Black fly, on one thistle there was over 10 Ladybirds .

Buathra laborator, Wasp were in the tops of the thistles laying their eggs.


7-spot Ladybird ( Coccinella 7-punctata)


Buathra laborator, Wasp

"candy-striped" spider


I found this what I think is "candy-striped" spider  ,  tending to a live moth larvae, the larvae was alive put tethered at the bottom end by the web so it could still eat.


Hoverfly Platycheirus sp.

As I wondered about the a Little Owl took of, there has been Little Owls up here as long as I can remember, once disturbed they normally fly to far to get a good photo, but today it stayed close by in the tree.

Little Owl

Red-tailed Bumblebee - Bombus lapidarius

22-spot ladybird (Psyllobora 22-punctata)


Noon Fly - Mesembrina meridiana

Home to a  Andrenidae - Mining bees

So the next time you see a Thistle STOP and have a closer look.

19 July 2017


Comments

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Lucy , yes put Golden acre park on your list especially in summer it's a lovely place to visit, free too and you can get coffee & cake.
      Amanda xx

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  2. Hello, what a great nature post. The flowers are gorgeous. I love the cute owl and the butterflies. Looks like an awesome place to visit and walk. Beautiful series of photos. Have a happy day!

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    1. Thanks Eileen, such a lovely time of year (if not raining) seeing all the flowers and Butterflies.
      Amanda xx

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  3. Super post and macro shots - the Golden Acre gardens look stunning and so good for insects. Lovely to see the Little Owl - I haven't seen one locally for years.

    Great total for the Big Butterfly Count - I wish I had done one now when at Marsh Lane NR last week as there were loads of butterflies. May go to a Brownfield site close by this week that is covered in buddleias to make a change from doing another one in the garden!

    So good to read of all your sightings and love all the hoverfly photos :)

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    1. Thanks RR, must say it has taken me two weeks to get this post together, what with work and making the most of non rainy days there is so much to see and record. Time moves so quick so I too hope to get some more butterflies counted this week.
      I was so pleased the little owl stayed for a photo and who new there were so many Hoverflies !
      Amanda xx

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  4. I had never heard of hoverflies until your post. I shall look out for them now. Love that a Little Owl was spying on your nature hunt! X

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    1. Thanks Shazza, you will have seen loads in your garden, right now hovering round the flowers, some are tiny but some look like honey bees or wasps.
      Amanda xx

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  5. Fabulous set of pictures, including the soldier beetles, at "it" again as ever

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    1. Thanks Simon, that's all they seem to do ! no wonder there is so many.
      Amanda xx

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  6. Cracking post, Amanda. So many interesting insects but my favourite is the little owl. Hardly see them these days but have always loved them x

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    1. Thanks CT, so much to see at the moment, loving looking for Hoverflies, we do quite well for Little Owls round here, but so nice for one to stay to have it's photo taken.
      Amanda xx

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  7. Wonderful photos and a very interesting post!

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    1. Thanks Amy, so nice of you to leave a comment and glad you like my photos..
      Amanda xx

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  8. Great photos, I love the wildflower patch on the old rail track at Golden Acre, I'm trying to replicate a patch like it at home! There are Thistle patches in the woods here and they're teeming with flies of various kinds at the moment. The Pied Hoverfly is quite stunning and of course the Little Owl photo is fantastic!

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    1. Thanks Pam, we still need to meet up at Golden Acer park, the railway flowers are so lovely, I do like the gardens at the top though and green house with the fish in. I got very lucky with the little Owl and the rains not helping looking for insects at the moment.
      Amanda xx

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    2. We do i've got the odd day free during August if you want to get something arranged :) I can't believe I only realised those gardens/greenhouse were there last year! xx

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  9. How wonderful your photos are, I've enjoyed them all it's hard to pick a favourite but I do like the Little Owl:)

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    1. Thanks Rosie, for your lovely comment. Got into looking at churches and grave stones at the moment so will do a post on that soon.
      Amanda xx

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  10. Wow Amanda! You sure have had a great time finding insects and doing so well identifying them too. Shame that your gatekeeper is in such poor condition but it happens. I too love that little owl. You have some really lovely photos here Amanda. A great post that I really enjoyed.

    Thanks so much for your visits and comments on my own little blog too - and yes, I know how long it can take to put one of these posts together...;-)

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    1. Thanks JJ for stopping by and leaving a lovely comment. Thanks to Twitter and Facebook it's a lot easier to find someone with the knowledge to help you ID the things I am finding, which in turn gives me the chance to learn.

      So pleased you liked the post...
      Amanda xx

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  11. What a great collection of species you've noticed. I always look at thistles! The ragwort in my garden has been really busy with hoverflies etc too! I love your photo of the owl, I haven't seen a little owl for ages!

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    1. Thanks Louise, the more I look the more I find, still get that child like feeling of wonder and amazement at what's living in the world.
      Cold spend all day looking at Thistles and it's a shame Ragwort gets such a bad press as all the insects love it.
      Amanda xx

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  12. A great new set up for your blog Amanda.
    Love the shot of the Little Owl.

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    1. Thanks Roy for the lovely comment, it was great to see the little owl, nice to see they are still breading up on the Banks...
      Amanda xx

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