The season for insects…

Summer is a great time for a wealth of invertebrate life. The fact that birdlife can be a little muted as migration comes to an end means that an even greater emphasis and attention is placed on the smaller inhabitants of our surrounding habitats and gardens. Moths are a classic and fascinating genera of fauna to study, coming a superb variety of shapes, colours and sizes- no matter where you are. Here on the island I run at least one, and occasionally two, small Heath Traps throughout the year, with a third being used at the observatory. Recording the daily wealth of species attracted to the small actinic bulb is the source of much pleasure- a few images are included below.

As flowers such as Hardheads, Thistles, Borage and Bramble come into bloom, a great variety of different insects can be found here too. Butterflies, wasps, bees, hoverflies and much more visit these nectar-rich flowers, providing a great place to observe these cool creatures. Again, I have included a couple of shots of my favourites below, but many more have been giving me a good challenge for IDing.

The Common Wave (moth) is a species that is relatively frequent in the willow beds in the lowland areas of Bardsey, being encountered most often during the day. I used a slight studio set-up and with a head torch to highlight the superb bipectinate antenna of this male

Grayling butterflies are a species encountered during July and August on the rocky areas at the top of Bardsey’s mountain. We carried out a survey of the mountain on Friday to get an idea of the number present here- the result was a figure just shy of 80, including a mating pair

I find this species just too cool- the Ruby-tailed Wasp is my favourite hymenoptera species by a long way at the moment! 

This appears to be the nymph of a Green Shield Bug, walking gingerly around on a bramble leaf 

A new species for me, and one that has since showed up a few times: Ectemnius lapidarius

Six-spot Burnets are having a bit of a poor year on the island, perhaps due to the weather. Day counts so far this month have barely exceeded 10, whilst figures should normally be in the hundreds

A different take on this indoor-living Pholcus phalagioides

Honey Bees are busy gathering nectar from the flowering Bell heather to supply the colony just above the Schoolhouse


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