Friday, June 1, 2018

Northern Tigers

The last Bank Holiday in May saw us decamp to NW Cumbria for a four night break. The weather was utterly amazing, wall to wall sunshine and decent temperatures. I'd never been to this part of the world before, the beaches were stunning and the lack of large numbers of people much appreciated. 

We visited Bowness on Solway and the RSPB Campfield Marsh reserve (much recommended) but it was a trip to Drigg Dunes just north of Ravenglass that was top of my list of destinations. 

The northern most population of Northern Dune Tiger Beetles Cicindela hybrida is found here and they were incredibly easy to see just south of the access to the beach. Lots of them though rather flighty I did manage a few quick shots. 

Their habitat is distinctly different from their southern counterpart, comprising sloping and more fluid sand dunes. There were also some Green Tiger Beetles Cicindela campestris in amongst them.

There was a supporting cast of other beetle species including large numbers of Otiorhynchus atroapterus on the Marram grass.

 And several Broscus cephalotes were under debris and running about the strand line.

Unusually for me I did notice and photograph a couple of spiders that caught my eye. The first, Arctosa perita, due to its beautiful colours and yet amazing ability to vanish when it stopped moving. The colours well-matching those of the sand.

The other one was a small jumping spider, a Heliophanus species, possibly flavipes if the pale legs are anything to go by. Rather cute and was completely unfazed as I got in close for a snap.

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