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A Reversal of Fortunes

While leading a walk on spiders today I came across this unusual tableau, something which I have read about but not seen before. The fly is the robber-fly Leptogaster cylindrica, a highly predatory species like all members of this family, while its prey is a young male Zygiella x-notata, an orb-weaving spider! 

 Leptogaster cylindrica and prey


All very quiet

First light along the beach was all very quiet with hardly any terns or waders, so the highlight was this summering drake eider at the river mouth. Ternery Pool was also very quiet, now that all the breeding seabirds have finished there. But the Quarry remains interesting with the last few common terns still incubating and a very few chicks surviving. Another highlight was my first grasshopper warbler of the year!!!


Metallic eyes

A warm sunny morning looking for insects and it was clear how few bumblebees there are, but reasonable numbers of common butterflies. But I did photograph these two insects with metallic eyes. The green eyed one is a deer fly Chrysops (possibly relictus) which bites if given half a chance and the golden eyed one is a green lacewing Chrysoperla sp.which eats greenfly.

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Hairy Legged Bee

From Gordon Jarvis by e-mail. It has not been a good year for bees in my Peasmarsh Garden.  There has been little activity of  leaf cutters or  mason bees. Today though I found this attractive bee which I believe it is a Hairy Legged Bee (Dasypoda hirtipes). It is listed as a Notable species.  I have only had one previous record  which was last year again in my garden.


Cockle Feast

Once again the stormy weather has washed up large numbers of animals along the shore. This time it is cockles and the tubes of sand mason worms that dominate. The cockles are providing a feast for the big gulls and some of their leftovers is being enjoyed by the small group of turnstones that have summered at the river mouth. These birds are probably first year birds that would not breed even if they made the long journey north.

It's still noticeable that very few terns are fishing along the shore and in the river, and on their nesting islands no chicks are surviving. There are just the last few incubating common terns left that are hoping that with the promise of summer at the weekend there may be an influx of small fish....