Sunday, 22 August 2010

Sunday 22nd.August 2010

A look around South Norwood Country Park before the weather went pear-shaped , had me wondering why I just didn't stay in bed this morning . The lake , apart from drying up , looked nothing unusual , with just Coot , Moorhen , Canada Geese , Black-headed Gulls and Mallard loafing about . The usually smart male Mallard , looking very drab in his eclipse attire . On the bank , nothing much happening either , and that encouraged these two Carrion Crows to catch up on their sleep .
The stream feeding the lake had dried up , and the area had been taken over by Himalayan Balsalm-Impatiens glandulifera , in several shades of pink down to almost pure white .
Not at it's best now , but this is one of only a handful of stands of Soapwort-Saponaria officinalis , to be found locally . It is a member of the Pink family . Walking around , it was noticeable how few nectar producing flowers were about , now that the Creeping Thistle has all gone to seed , but Broad-leaved Everlasting Pea-Lathyrus latifolius , was doing it's best to plug the hole . Can never be sure with this species if it is truly wild , or another garden escape .
A Cormorant , Grey Heron and a fly-over Great Spotted Woodpecker completed a rather uneventful visit .
Back home , a brief spell of sunshine , produced a couple of Small White and a single Holly Blue , which was better than the 2 Large Whites seen at the Country Park .
Then , into the garden flew a large dragonfly which hawked for food for a while , before settling . I thought from a distance that it was the female Southern Hawker that has had to be rescued from the car port several times . I went for the camera , sure that it would be gone when I returned , but I was wrong , as it was still perched when I returned , not the female , but an immature male . He even flew off and settled again , but this time at waist height as opposed to above head height as before .
He didn't seem to be bothered about my presence , and allowed a close up shot of the thorax , showing the different shapes of the front and rear wings , the rear wings being shaped to allow them to pass below the abdomen when in flight .A side shot of the thorax shows the large compound eye and the muscular thorax - the engine to which the wings are attached .
Once I had taken the shots I wanted , I pushed my luck for a finger shot , but he wasn't playing , and took off , not to be seen again .
And finally , the only other interest at the Country Park was this insect , which caught my attention by it's cumbersome flight , and crash landing into vegetation . My first impressions was a Bee , and with the unusual head/eyes and 3 dots between the eyes , I thought it would be relatively easy to identify , but I haven't been successful so far . Any ideas ?
A bit more digging since posting , and I think it is one of the Mining Bees-Andrena carantonica .
Once again , Greg has put me back on the straight and narrow by identifying the Bee as one of the Leaf-cutters , Megachile sp. He also informs me that the three spots , which I thought were diagnostic for my original identification , are to be found on almost all of the Bee species in the country , some 250+ of them .
Thanks very much for the information Greg .


Warren Baker said...

I had one of those bee's in my Garden today Greenie, it entered a hole in one of my plant pots, can't help with its ID though :-)

Kingsdowner said...

Cracking shots of the tame Southern Hawker (looking for a place out of the rain?)
Is soapwort an escapee? There are a few stands around here, and most seem to be near habitation.

Wilma said...

Just when you think the is the same ole, same ole,something like that beautiful young male Southern Hawker shows up to shake you out of your stupor! I love the closeup pics you took; they show such detail.

Anonymous said...

"Andrena carantonica" It looks spot on for that Greenie.

Steve (Kingsdowner) : regards Soapwort. 5 petals - wild, more than 5 petals (double-flowered form) - garden escape.

Anonymous said...

It's a Megachile species (Leafcutter bee) rather than an Andrena. The three dots between the eyes are ocelli ('simple eyes'), and virtually every one of our 250+ species of bee has them unfortunately!


Ken Browne. said...

Hi Greenie.
Lovely shots of the Southern Hawker, on Sunday.
Saturday: I like the photo's of the Fungi, great pattern on the middle shot.