Sunday, 22 June 2014

Orchids and butterflies at North Cave Wetlands

 The image above was the view from East Hide today, a drift of orchids, and orchids were indeed flowering around the reserve. There were plenty of immature Black-Headed Gulls from East Hide, and many moulting ducks, mainly Gadwall. I was at the reserve quite early and the sun was hiding behind some high clouds, so there were not as many butterflies and dragonflies as I had anticipated. Still, Ringlet, Common Blue, Small Tortoiseshell and Meadow Brown were active.
As I walked to Turret hide I had to jump to avoid this Drinker caterpillar, which was crossing the path at some speed.
I saw my first Bee Orchid of the year, not quite at its best, on the approach path to Turret Hide too.
Male Common Blue Damselfly with prey
And male Common Blue butterfly
More hybrid orchids
A very bright Small Tortoiseshell sunbathing
Carrion Crow family
This male Sedge Warbler put on a great display. After every song flight it went low down into the bushes and then climbed up to an exposed position while singing before... 
...jumping onto another flight song display
Peacock caterpillars, there were so many they had brought down the Nettle branches with them. 
These ones had dispersed a and were much bigger in size.
There were a few diseased rabbits about today.
The lapwing chicks by the Snipe field have grown so much. Their top-notch is starting to show. One adult tried to flush a Little Ringed Plover and a Ringed Plover, which probably compete with the chicks for food.
Ringed Plover
Little Ringed Plover
Corn Bunting in between a little singing and flying away
Unidentified Darter resting high on the north hedge.
I noticed a large black and white wasp carrying this Downlooker Snipefly (thank you to Richard Comont for ID)...
...into her nest on a rabbit scrape, where there were many more similar holes.
I waited until she came out again to photograph her.
and identified it as Crabro cribarius, an uncommon sand wasp (thank you to Ian Beavis for confirming ID) which hunts several types of fly to stock her burrow. The larvae feeds on the flies.
At another scrape some fierce-looking eyes and a shiny moustache looked at me intently...
...before she dared venture out.

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