Adder sunbathing (cavenham heath)

Today it was a beautiful clear morning but a frosty start. I rushed off to Cavenham heath but I was a little early and the clouds came over, so I saw about three bees , two snakes and a few beetles. Disappointing really !!

Common Heath Moth -Ematurga atomaria (Cavenham heath NR)


Common Heath Ematurga atomaria

Wingspan 22-30 mm.

Inhabiting heaths, moorland and open woodland, this rather variable species flies during the day, sometimes abundantly in sunshine.

It is common throughout Britain, and appears in May and June, sometimes again in August in the south.

The caterpillars, which are equally variable, feed on heather (Calluna), heath (Erica) and clovers (Trifolium spp)… UK Moths

Gonia picea (Cavenham heath)

A large (10mm), dumpy tachinid fly and typically hairy. The dark abdomen has pale stripes across each segment.
Dry to moderately damp meadows.
When to see it
March to June.
Life History
Larva parasitise lepidoptera caterpillars particularly those of the Antler Moth.
UK Status
Mainly found in the south of Britain.

Green tiger beetles (Cicindela campestris) Cavenham Heath

Green tiger beetles (Cicindela campestris) are ground beetles, easily recognised by their iridescent green colouring and the yellowish spots on their back. There are over 40,000 species of ground beetle worldwide and Britain has over 350 species.
Adult Green tiger beetles can be seen from April to September and are between 10.5-14.5mm in length. They have long legs that make them agile when hunting for prey and large eyes making them the perfect predator. If disturbed, they will fly short distances making a buzzing sound in flight.
Green tiger beetles have strong sickle shaped jaws (mandibles) that have several teeth. Adults feed on any small invertebrates they can catch including spiders, caterpillars and ants.
Green tiger beetles breed in the summer and their eggs are laid separately in small burrows in the ground. When the egg hatches the larvae remain in the burrow feeding and growing.

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)

Adder (Vipera berus) Cavenham Heath NR


My first venture to Cavenham Heath Bug hunting , it was a frosty morning but blue skies and sunny. The Adder was sunning itself as you can see by the habitat photo it wasn’t easy to spot but I was on the look out for them as there were almost no insects. I saw one bumblebee and one beetle.

Very happy with the photos

Adders are the only venomous snakes found in Britain, although they are absent from Ireland. They use their venom to immobilise prey such as lizards, amphibians, nestlings and small mammals. After striking their prey, they leave the venom to take effect before following the victim’s scent to find the body. Although an adder’s venom poses little danger to a healthy adult human, the bite is very painful and requires urgent medical attention. Adders are the most northerly distributed snake and the only species found inside the Arctic circle.