Reeves Pheasant (lode)

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Reeves Pheasant

I strangely came across this Reeves pheasant which is more at home in China than Cambridge , I’m guessing it came from one of the stately homes.

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Andrena nigroaenea – solitary bees (lode)

The Honey Bee-sized females have black-haired faces, a dense brown-pile on the thorax and a dense buff pile on tergites 1-4. The hind tibiae are dark but have and bright orange pollen brushes. Males resemble small, slim females and have the face brown and black-haired.

Melecta albifrons (solitary bee) garden

The bee Melecta albifrons is a cuckoo bee to look out for in spring, especially if you have a nesting aggregation of the Spring or Hairy-footed Flower Bee Anthophora plumipes. It is a cleptoparasite or cuckoo bee of Anthophora – this means that the bee (female) goes into an Anthophora burrow and lays its egg with the pollen food supply gathered by Anthophora. When the Melecta egg hatches the larva feeds up on the food supply intended for the Anthophora larva, pupates and emerges next year instead of the host. It is found throughout much of southern England, with an apparent bias towards the south-east. There is at least one old record for south Wales. Any records of the host Anthophora bee or the cleptoparasite Melecta bee would be very welcome.

Melecta is a distinctive spring bee, about the same size as Anthophora, with the head and body entirely black in the female except for a pair of lateral patches of white appressed hairs on most of the gastral tergites (top surface of the abdomen) and on the legs. However, in some individuals, these patches are darker, so that these are not so obvious. The male has more white or yellowish white hairs, on the head and thorax.

Wasp spider egg sack(Argiope bruennichi) Cavenham Heath NR

I found this egg sack today which belongs to the Wasp spider, a new comer to the UK and one which hasn’t to my knowledge been recorded at Cavenham Heath NR

The Wasp Spider is a very large, colourful spider that is a recent arrival in the UK from the continent and has slowly spread over the south of England. They build large orb webs in grassland and heathland, and attach their silk egg-sacs to the grasses. The web has a wide, white zig-zag strip running down the middle, known as a ‘stabilimentum’, the function of which is unclear. Mating is a dangerous game for males; they wait at the edge of the web until the female has moulted into a mature form, then take advantage of her jaws being soft and rush in to mate. However, many males still get eaten during this time.

(spider Photo not mine)