Sunday, June 13, 2021

Terror couple kill colonel

A weekend spent at home in the garden, doing some jobs and then avoiding the heat as and when needed. Lots of natural history drama and goings on...

The Green Woodpecker nest in the garden has at least three chicks and they are begging and calling pretty much dawn to dusk now. Yesterday, I heard the parents alarming and went to take a look and shoo away an expected cat, but looking up I instead saw a swarm of bees around the nest hole and the adults hopping around going mad. One of the chicks jumped out and fell to the ground. It was pretty well feathered but incapable of flight. The bees eventually left and I managed to take a ladder and pop the chick back into the nest. The adults soon returned and started feeding again. As of just now the chick has jumped out again and I've moved it from the lawn to a more secure location and the parents are alternating between it and the other chicks that remain in the nest.

The early jumper just before it was returned to the nest.

The pond is full of life at the moment and has attracted a lot of damselflies plus a resident male Broad-bodied Chaser. The vegetation is also establishing nicely and helping to cut down the wicking and evaporation. I spent a while just sitting and scanning the vegetation and picked up two new species. A soldierfly and a beetle.

The soldierfly I think is Odontomyia tigrina aka the Black Colonel. Pretty widespread but never really found in high numbers. This was a female with the widely spaced eyes. It's not quite as black as the male and the wing venation appears much browner.

I found the new beetle whilst eyeballing the purple loosestrife for weevils, it was obviously a chrysomelid and easily keyed to Galerucella calmariensis, a loosestrife feeder and sometime biological control agent (at least in North America). It's a nice looking thing with a soft layer of silky hairs on the elytra giving it an almost cuddleable appearance. Almost....

The post title inspiration comes from probably my favourite band of all time, Northampton's favourite post punk pioneers. They burned so bright and soon imploded (before the inevitable nostalgia tours). Wish I had been old enough to see them live in the late 70s.

No comments:

Post a Comment