Monday 10 August 2015

WWT Welney - Butterfly Count, Ladybirds, Longhorn Beetles and Other Insects

We always enjoy a day at WWT Welney, whatever the season. We spent Saturday on this lovely Fenland reserve on the Ouse Washes near Ely.

It seemed a good place to do the Big Butterfly Count, as you can see from our list (and certificate) below.

Our butterfly list

There were some interesting insects about, including this huge Musk Beetle below (about 3mm long), who landed on our picnic chair! The Site Manager told us that it was Aromia moschata, a Eurasian species of Longhorn Beetle. The larvae of this insect live in the wood of pollarded Willow trees, and, as it happened, we were under the shade of just such a tree.

Aromia moschata

A little further into the reserve we came across a second Longhorn, this time Leptura quadrifasciata, usually known as Strangalia quadrifasciata. This is a 'longhorn beetle' of the family Cerambycidae. It frequents areas in which there are Alder, Oak and Willow trees. This beetle feeds on pollen and its larvae bore holes in wood.

Strangalia quadrifasciata
Ladybird pupa

There were a lot of beetles about, including ladybirds at various stages of development.

Harlequin ladybird larva, Harmonia axyridis

We saw a few Harlequins

There are three different species of Ladybird on this plant. We counted twenty 7-spots on this plant alone:

The dragonflies were magnificent, but most were on the wing and hard to photograph.

I think this one above is a female Ruddy Darter ...

... and here are a couple of males.

The dragonfly below is a male Southern Hawker, and perhaps one of my favourites.

There were plenty of Teasels, and the one below had a small spotless red beetle on one of its leaves. I have not identified it yet. Any suggestions gratefully received!

The wild flowers were wonderful, with a show of ragwort, ox-eye daisy, pink campion and sorrel. 

In addition to the butterflies we counted, we also saw numerous caterpillars. I think these may be Small Tortoiseshell.

The Bewick's Swans left the reserve months ago now, but we enjoyed seeing a family of Mute Swans and a couple of Whoopers, like this one below.

Mute Swan

We were just leaving the reserve when we noticed this partridge not in a pear tree, but on a post!

We stopped for a short wander around Ely, with its lovely cathedral, known as the Ship of the Fens, before heading home.

If you would like to log any UK sightings of Ladybirds or Butterflies you have seen, here are the websites:


Crafty Green Poet said...

lovely sightings and photos, Caroline. i particularly like the Southern Hawker

eileeninmd said...

Hello Caroline, awesome post and images. Great macro shots of the insects. And I love the dragonflies, Partridge and swans. Happy Monday, enjoy your new week!

Ragged Robin said...

Lovely post, photos and great sightings :)

Really interested to see this reserve as I planned a trip there on my birthday a few years ago (but it was December and I think the reserve was closed due to flooding :( ). Would love to visit Ely cathedral too!

Ian Doyle said...

Great photos Caroline.