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Tuesday 30 July 2019

Some butterflies on Wolstonbury Hill, 29 July 2019

Small Heath

Common Blue




The Pride of Sussex


Brown Argus

Chalkhill Blue

Common Blue

Silver-spotted Skipper

Grazed bank where Silver-spotted Skipper was seen


Common Blue on cowpat

Speckled wood
Click on any picture to expand it and scroll down for some more insect and flower pic's.
Also seen but not photographed, Meadow Browns, Red Admiral and Marbled Whites.

Some bellflowers on Wolstonbury Hill, 29 July 2019

The "Pride of Sussex", the county flower of Sussex
It was fabulous on Wolstonbury Hill on 29 July 2019.  The butterflies, flowers and other insects were glorious.  The county flower, Phytema tenerum, the "Pride of Sussex" was spectacular.  It is in the Bellflower family as is the Harebell.
The Harebell is the the County Flower of Dumfriesshire, Yorkshire and County Antrim.  See for  fascinating info' on this delicate looking flower.

 Click on any picture to expand it.

Small Heath butterfly on "the pride of Sussex".
This nature walk was undertaken at a day's notice to capitalise on the fine weather forecast.   

A wasp that is a parasite on other solitary bees and wasps: a Gasteruption sp..

 My thanks to Karen McCartney for her identification of this wasp as a Gasteruption sp male. 
It was photographed on Hogweed on a bridleway on Wolstonbury Hill on 29 July 2019.
 The females have a long ovipositor and lay eggs in the nests of solitary bees and wasps, where their larvae prey upon the host eggs, larvae and provisions.  Source:
 The male was alive and well on the hill and a female, below, was found on a windowsill inside my house in Sussex very much dead.
The ovipositor is comprised of three parts in this picture.  She would have found plenty of solitary bees and wasp nests in my garden to attack before becoming trapped in the house.

Thursday 18 July 2019

Amberley Wild Brooks Nature Walk, 17 July 2019

It was a glorious July day when six of us set off across Amberley Wild Brooks to see what we could find.  Only three damselfly and dragonfly species were photographed but the many other plants and creatures seen more than compensated.  And that is the joy of being with a group of naturalists -- one sees more than one would alone.  
Here William Coleman has identified a Melilotus species  possibly M. officinalis

Click on any picture to enlarge it.
The ditches were lined with Meadowsweet, Filipendula ulmaria.
A hoverfly, possibly Microdon mutabilis was on this flower.  If so, its larvae live in ants nests preying on the eggs and larvae of a various ant species, often, but not exclusively, in wet or boggy situations.

Goldfinches flying around

Marsh Woundwort

Meadow Brown

Meadow Brown

 Wild Parsnip, which is poisonous: the sap causes blisters with sunlight.

Tansy, Tanacetum vulgare
Wild pea 

 A Woundwort, but which one?
Ah yes!  Marsh Woundwort, Stachys palustris.  That fits as we are on the edge of Amberley swamp.
Hundreds of tiny flies were swarming around this puddle.
I have seen them on my garden pond: the males flashing their wings to attract a female.

Grasshopper and Crickets
 There were hundreds of tiny grasshoppers that I did not photograph.  Here are a few of the bigger ones.
 This fine insect is a Short-winged Cone-head - Conocephalus dorsalis, a female with large ovipositor.
 Common in southern England, it likes wet meadows lowland peatland and reed beds.  Amberley Levels then.

Short-winged Cone-head - Conocephalus dorsalis

 This is quite different: Roesel's Bush-cricket, Metrioptera roeselii is a European bush-cricket, named after August Johann Rösel von Rosenhof, a German entomologist.  Source;
 Above is a male with short wings.

 Whereas this one has large wings and is much rarer.
Meadow grasshopper, Chorthippus parallelus
 Smaller and with short antennae, this is a Meadow grasshopper, Chorthippus parallelus 

Dragonflies and Damselflies
Four-spotted Chaser, Libellula quadrimaculata
 We saw few flying or resting.
 Four-spotted Chaser, Libellula quadrimaculata

 Azure damselflies mating, Coenagrion puella
 See if interested in a talk on these amazing insects.
Broad-bodied Chaser, male, Libellula depressa

Small Skipper

White Water-lily, Nymphaea alba

White Water-lily, Nymphaea alba


Mugwort, Artemisia vulgaris

Nipplewort, Lapsana communis
Nipplewort, Lapsana communis a member od the Daisey family.
Nipplewort, Lapsana communis
 The following clip is very poor quality and is shown only because the Black-headed gulls were flying across the meadows swerving presumably to catch insects.  Something that I had not observed before.

This walk was three miles and we spent three hours enjoying our natural surroundings followed by refreshments in The Black Horse.
At an overall pace of one mile per hour these nature walks are likely to frustrate anyone looking for a straight walk at 3mph+.  It was lovely though to take time to just stop, stare and enjoy our wildlife with relaxed company.  Thanks to you all who came yesterday.

My next nature walk, linear 3.6 miles, "In search of Broad-leaved Helleborines" may be next week if the weather looks fine, from East Dean car park.  The route is; bus to Exceat. Friston Forest, Friston Place, Friston Church*,  East Dean, Hikers Rest Cafe.  The route involves frequent quite steep elevations and descents.  And the time depends entirely on what is flowering and flying.

Or, I might just go somewhere for butterflies and "The Pride of Sussex"

*(twenty minutes or so at the pond -- see and

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