Muslin Moth (Stiperstones NNR)

Muslin Moth Diaphora mendica

Wingspan 28-38 mm.

It occurs in woodland, downland and suburban habitats, and is relatively common in most of Britain.

The larvae feed on a variety of low plants, including dock (Rumex) and chickweed (Stellaria).

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Bombus monticola -Bilberry bumblebee (Stiperstones NNR)

Another highlight of the year !!

Distribution
Historically, widely distributed throughout northern and western Britain and recently recorded from Ireland. There are very few records from south-eastern England, but it did formerly occur on the higher areas of the Weald near Hindhead in Surrey (specimen in Haslemere Museum collection). There is a marked decline in the distribution of this bumblebee throughout its former range in Britain. The species is boreo-alpine in western Europe only: northern and western Fennoscandia, the Pyrenees, northern Italy, the Alps and Balkan mountains. The closely related B. lapponicus has a more easterly distribution (Svensson 1979).
Status (in Britain only)
This bee was not regarded as being scarce or threatened, but has now been included on English Nature’s Species Recovery Programme because of the modern evidence of serious decline.
Habitat
Associated with mountain and moorland habitat, although scarce in pure moorland areas. Recent research has shown a frequent connection with grassland habitats as well as moorland ones.
Flight period
The species is eusocial, with queens emerging from hibernation in April; workers are present from May onwards, and males and new females from July to early October.
Nesting biology
Nests are underground and are started in old mammal nests. Nest sizes are fairly small, and the colonies often have fewer than 50 workers. The life-cycle is also short, about 3-4 months.
Flowers visited
There are clear flower-visiting preferences for this species, with bilberries (Vaccinium spp.) and sallow (Salix spp.) being much used in spring; bird’s-foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus), clovers (Trifolium spp.) and raspberry (Rubus idaeus) and bramble (Rubus fruticosus agg.) in early to mid summer and bell heather (Erica cinerea) and bilberries in mid to late summer.
Parasites
It is likely that this species is attacked by the socially parasitic bee, Bombus sylvestris

Andrena fucata (Stiperstones NNR)

ID to be confirmed.

Distribution
Throughout much of Britain and Ireland, the range extending as far north as East Sutherland (Golspie) and including the Isle of Man. There are no records from the Channel Islands. A north and central European species occurring from northern Fennoscandia to Turkey and the central Urals.
Status (in Britain only)
This bee is not regarded as being scarce or threatened.
Habitat
Woodland, heaths, moors and coastal dunes. Rarely abundant.
Flight period
Univoltine; mid May to mid July, exceptionally early August.
Nesting biology
The species is reported to nest solitarily (Kocourek, 1966; Dylewska, 1987; Westrich, 1989). However, R.C.L. Perkins (1919) found a small aggregation of about a dozen burrows placed close together.
Flowers visited
In addition to the forage species listed above, the bee has also been reported to visit bilberry (Vaccinium sp.), hawthorn (Crataegus sp.), plum (Prunus sp.), water-dropwort (Oenanthe sp.), wood spurge (Euphorbia amygdaloides) and yellow pimpernel (Lysimachia nemorum).
Parasites
Nomada panzeri Lepeletier is a probable cleptoparasite of this species

Green Hairstreak – Callophrys rubi (Stiperstones NNR)

This butterfly is the most widespread of our hairstreaks. However, it is also a local species, forming distinct colonies which can be as small as a few dozen individuals, although other colonies can be much larger. Both sexes always settle with their wings closed, the brown uppersides only ever being seen in flight. The undersides, by contrast, provide the illusion of being green, an effect produced by the diffraction of light on a lattice-like structure found within the wing scales, which provides excellent camouflage as the butterfly rests on a favourite perch, such as a Hawthorn branch. This butterfly will also regulate its body temperature by tilting its wings appropriately to catch the sun’s rays. This butterfly is found throughout the British Isles – partly due to the wide variety of foodplants it uses, and the wide range of habitats it frequents. However, it is absent from the Isle of Man, Outer Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland.

Andrena lapponica (Stiperstones NNR)

A new Species for me.

Status (in Britain only)
This bee is not regarded as being scarce or threatened.
Habitat
Open woodland, moors and montane sites. On Cairn Gorm, Easterness, it has occurred at 600 m (pers. obs.).
Flight period
Univoltine; early April to June, occasionally into early July.
Nesting biology
The nest burrows seem to be widely scattered, rather than in close aggregations. As such they are rarely encountered.
Flowers visited
Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), blackthorn (Prunus spinosa), common dog-violet (Viola riviniana), cowberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea), dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), gorse (Ulex europaeus), rhododendron (Rhododendron ponticum), thyme (Thymus polytrichus) and willow (Salix spp.).
Parasites
Nomada panzeri Lepeletier is recorded as a cleptoparasite of this species (Perkins, 1919). The conopid fly Myopa buccata (Linnaeus) may be an inquiline of this Andrena as in both West Sussex and central Easterness, M. Edwards and the author have encountered this dipteran flying with this bee in sites where other solitary aculeates were scarce.

Vamping @ Ratlinghope-Shropshire

I had a lovely time Vamping in Ratlinghope , which is in Shropshire. It is near Stiperstones NNR which is a rare habitat , mostly bilberry and heather and home to some rare bees.

It was a haven for so many different and rare bumblebees and some solitary bees which you will see me post.