Arthropods on a hot sunny afternoon

Yesterday, we spent some time bug hunting again. We haven’t had much rain in the last few weeks and the occasional shower has not been enough to keep our local ponds topped up, so many are almost entirely dried up now and there are concerns for the habitat of a number of odonata species, both damselflies and dragonflies, which are usually visible in quite good number by this time of the summer. The weather forecast is for no rain for the next week and temperatures between 25 and 28 degrees for the next five days, so there will be no improvement anytime soon. At our local quarry, all the ponds are completely dry except for the main pond, which is now disastrously low and all the areas where I saw damsels and dragons ovipositing over the last few weeks are now totally dried up and barren, which does not bode well for the next couple of years.

We decided to try a local country park, which is about 10 minutes away by car and where we have photographed damsels in previous years. Again, we found the wetland area more or less dried up, with even the cottongrass struggling to grow between the reeds and the damselflies that we would expect to see by this time of the summer were just not there in any number. We  saw just two or three. Fortunately there were some butterflies around and I managed a few photographs, particularly of the speckled wood, which likes to bask in the sun on a broad leaf and isn’t as easily spooked as some other types. The lacewing is pretty elusive, so I was pleased to get a reasonable shot of one having a meal and there were a couple of skipper butterflies about, though I spent too long with one that turned out to have a damaged wing. There were also several large white, meadow brown and ringlet butterflies, but couldn’t get near enough to photograph them. However, even greenbottles provide practice for close-up photography. The garden cross orb-weaver spider was waiting for me when I arrived home. These are a few of my favourites.

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© Christine Widdall