Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Spurn trip: Day 3. Kilnsea saltmarsh invertebrates

After the long walk yesterday, today we take it more leisurely and we head out of Westmere Farm B&B towards the sea across a couple of fields at the back of the farm. By the beach, where the clay cliff is very low, there is a thin strip of dunes (top shot). The sun is shining on blue skies, there is the lightest breeze and it's low tide. While the kids play on the beach, I watch insects on the dunes. Fleabane, sow thistle and ragwort are blooming in profusion. Butterflies are aplenty, including very fresh looking Small Tortoiseshells, Painted Lady, Red Admiral, Peacock, Small White, Common Blue and a Small Heath.
 There are also many active bees, including a Sea Aster bee, Colletes halophilus, a first for me.
Small Tortoiseshell.
Many Small Whites
Peacock, here with Small Tortoiseshell on ragwort.
Red admiral on saw-thistle
Painted lady on ragwort
And a patrolling male common blue that briefly landed on a flower bud
Another Peacock on fleabane
Female Sea Aster bee, Colletes halophilus collecting pollen on Sea Aster. It's hot and the bee is very skittish, almost jumping between flowers. It's a female completely covered in aster pollen.
A close up of the Sea Aster Bee.
One of a few stands of Sea Aster where the bee was feeding.
One of many Dune Robberflies, Philonicus albiceps with fly prey.
Eristalis tenax, on saw-thistle
The spotty-eyed hoverfly, Eristalinus aeneus on fleabane. 
Helophilus pendulus
Many 11 spot ladybirds on reeds, these mating (you can see an aphid on the bottom left hand corner), also 7 spots.
There are also plenty of crickets and grasshoppers about, according to the kids, that are totally astounded I am unable to hear them sing. I was pleased to find a female Short-winged conehead resting on a fence.
A Lesser marsh grasshopper grooming its antennae
Short-winged conehead

Just before leaving Spurn, we stop for a drink at the Blue Bell Cafe and by the beach, we spot two more butterflies for the day.
Painted lady on mayweed.
Small Heath on mayweed
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