Andrena chrysosceles (Fleam dyke)

Females have a brown-haired, rather dull thorax and a shiny, finely punctate abdomen with white hair fringes along the hind margins of tergites 2-4 and orange hairs at the tip of the abdomen. The hind tibiae and tarsi are orange.

This is one of our commonest spring mining bees, usually peaking with the blossoming of Blackthorn and Hawthorn though many spring flowers are visited. The first individuals to appear are nearly all stylopised intersexes…Steve Falk

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Silpha laevigata (Fleam Dyke)

Silpha laevigata Fabricius, 1775
Easily distinguished by the absence of raised longitudinal lines on the elytra.
The front of the pronotum is rounded and the head somewhat elongate.
Mainly in the southern half of England. May be abundant in some areas, particularly
near the coast, but scarce or absent in others.

Osmia bicolor (fleam dyke)

Probably the bee highlight of the year

The males of this species are among the first of the solitary bees to appear in the spring, with one exceptional record as early as late February. They are shortly followed by the distinctive females.

Status (in Britain only)
Classified as a Nationally Notable (Nb) species by Falk (1991).
Habitat
Generally calcareous grassland and open deciduous woodland on chalk and limestone soils.
Flight period
Univoltine; April to early July. The males are very short-lived in comparison with the females.
Nesting biology
Females establish their nests in empty snail shells, including those of Helix pomatia, Cepaea nemoralis, C. hortensis and Monacha cantiana. Nests contain about four or five cells, depending on the size of shell used. Cell partitions and the closing plug consist of leaf mastic (i.e. masticated portions of green leaf). The space between the last cell partition and the closing plug is filled with a rubble containing very small snail shells and pieces of chalk, or soil. When the nest is completed the female covers the shell with a mound of dead grass stems, beech scales or leaf fragments (Perkins, 1884, 1891; G R Else, pers. obs.). The reason for this behaviour is not known, but it may camouflage the nest from possible parasites and predators at a time when it may be vulnerable to such attack….BWARS

Osmia Bicolor (Male) Fleam Dyke

Highlight of my day

Distribution
Distributed predominantly in southern England and south Wales, the range being closely correlated with chalk and limestone soils. This is a predominantly central European species, becoming rare and sporadic north of Belgium. The Palaearctic range extends from southern Finland (one record only (Elfving, 1968)) to Spain, and east to the former Yugoslavia and Romania. Stoeckhert (1933) records the species from central Asia and reports that both there and in southern Europe it is largely restricted to montane sites.
Status (in Britain only)
Classified as a Nationally Notable (Nb) species by Falk (1991).
Habitat
Generally calcareous grassland and open deciduous woodland on chalk and limestone soils.
Flight period
Univoltine; April to early July. The males are very short-lived in comparison with the females.
Nesting biology
Females establish their nests in empty snail shells, including those of Helix pomatia, Cepaea nemoralis, C. hortensis and Monacha cantiana. Nests contain about four or five cells, depending on the size of shell used. Cell partitions and the closing plug consist of leaf mastic (i.e. masticated portions of green leaf). The space between the last cell partition and the closing plug is filled with a rubble containing very small snail shells and pieces of chalk, or soil. When the nest is completed the female covers the shell with a mound of dead grass stems, beech scales or leaf fragments (Perkins, 1884, 1891; G R Else, pers. obs.). The reason for this behaviour is not known, but it may camouflage the nest from possible parasites and predators at a time when it may be vulnerable to such attack. Nests are illustrated by Geiser (1988) and Westrich (1989). Males have been found sheltering in empty snail shells during periods of inclement weather (G R Else, pers. obs.).
Flowers visited
Wood anemone (Anemone nemorosa), bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta), heath dog-violet (Viola canina), bird’s-foot-trefoil (Lotus corniculatus), horseshoe vetch (Hippocrepis comosa), sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia), sallow (Salix spp.), ground-ivy (Glechoma hederacea), daisy (Bellis perennis) and dandelion (Taraxacum sp.)….BWARS

Fleam Dyke (Cambridgeshire)

Today’s outing a couple of hours on Cambridges Chalky side.

The massive earthwork monument known as Fleam Dyke consists of a 7-8m high bank and ditched barrier which ran for 5km from Balsham to Fulbourn. Possible extensions to it occur at both the south and north ends, and a further part of it might exist from Quy Fen to the River Cam at Fen Ditton. The main part of Fleam survives today as a footpath and parish boundary, but historically the northern part was also the boundary between Flendish and Staine Hundreds. The Moot for these Hundreds was at Mutlow Hill, a Bronze Age barrow which had clearly been an important landmark for many centuries before its use as an Anglo-Saxon meeting place. Apart from the 4,000 year old cremated burials for which it was originally built, rare third century BC Greek coins have been found close to the burial mound. It was reused in Roman times for a temple, and it is no accident that Fleam Dyke passes right beside it. Mutlow rests on the top of a hill, and overlooks the junction of several routeways (including the Icknield Way) where they meet and cross Fleam Dyke.

The highlight is the Osmia Bicolor male ,, but i must find the beautifully coloured female.