Hibernating Queen wasps (Kings Forest,Suffolk)

Three Queen wasps found hibernating under a small piece of bark. Queen wasps will over winter hibernating in a sheltered place, They tuck their wings and antenna under their bodies possibly to preserve heat or stop frost damage.

The bark was securely replaced

Aphanus rolandri (kings Forest Suffolk)

Aphanus rolandri
Family: Lygaeidae

A large and very distinctive black ground bug with a dark red or orange spot at the base of the wing membrane; confusion with other species is unlikely.

A. rolandri has been found in a variety of dry, sheltered and well-drained habitats which have a thin covering of leaf litter or stones, such as chalk pits, cliffsides and (historically) cultivated arable fields. Adults overwinter, becoming active in the spring. The new generation is complete by August.

A scarce species known primarily from the south of England between Cornwall and Kent, with a scatter of records as far north as north Norfolk and the midlands.

Adult: All year
Length 6-8 mm… British Bugs

Winter Solstice

Happy Midwinters Solstice Folk , the days are going to start getting lighter and the excitement of spring on the horizon. I have plans to survey a few sites Cherry Hinton Chalk pit and Dunwich heath amongst the list. I will continue the garden survey.

This year I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Cavenham heath and also enjoyed my interview at the Natural history museum even though I didn’t get the job but there is a big chance I will be heading back to Antarctica next winter … I hope you have enjoyed another years worth of posts on my blog ūüôā

Grammoptera sp (garden)

Three species of Grammoptera occur in Britain of which one. G.ruficornis (Fab.) is widespread and common. G.abdominalis (Stephens)(Notable A) is a very local southern English species mainly associated with Oak in broad-leaved woodland. G.ustulata (Schaller)(RDB3) is also a very local insect of woodland and wood pasture with records from Surrey, Berkshire, and south Hampshire and also scattered individual records further north; Gloucester, Cambridge, mid Wales and south Yorkshire. All our species occur from April until July or Augus

I am going through all the photos I have taken this year to pick up the ones I have missed.

Most likely Cerambycidae (Longhorn beetle) – Grammoptera ruficornis


Scottish wood ant Formica aquilonia (Aberfoyle)

A frosty walk in Aberfoyle forest and came across several ants nests.

Tolerates denser shade than the other
species, but also generally prefers sunny
patches within Scots pine and birch
woodlands. Will persist in small
woodlands, under small groups of trees,
in dense regeneration or even-aged
plantations and along the rides after
complete canopy closure. Ability to
withstand deeper shade is thought to be
related to colony organisation.

A good link here on wood ants 

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Natural History Museum Interview

Last Thursday I went for an Interview after ¬†being short listed to the last 25 for one of five positions as a ID trainer for the future at the Natural history Museum London. It would be a great¬†opportunity for me to do what I love. I put in a strong application to get to the interview stage and hope that they have seen the¬†enthusiasm¬†and passion I put into my blog. My presentation was good , the¬†discussion was ok although I had lost my voice and I think I did well in the ID and written tests.¬†There was lots of stiff competition and¬†some of the interviewees had been the year before so had a better idea of what was needed. ¬†Anyway I gave it my best shot even though I wasn’t feeling well and have my fingers crossed.¬†


Ice Hair fungus (Aberfoyel)


On humid winter nights, you may be able to find these peculiar ice crystals that form on Rotting Wood..
Looking a little like fur, or candyfloss, these hair-like whisps appear overnight and then melt when the sun comes up..
Hair ice is caused by a fungus called Exidiopsis effusa, and the action of this fungus is to enable the ice to form thin hairs ‚Äď with a diameter of about 0.01mm ‚Äď and to keep this shape over many hours at temperatures close to 0¬įC,

Britain’s Habitats

As you know insects especially hymenoptera are my passion, these differ depending on habitat they are found in …from chalk soil meadows, acid soil grass/heathland , Machair, they will attract habitat specific insects etc. I love travelling about and seeing what I can find in different habitats.

On my “must get” book¬†list this year is the Britain’s habitats book which looks so interesting.