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Amazing Fauna

Sunday, August 16th 2015

As part of the Flagship Ponds, Martin Hammond has carried out surveys of the ponds on the wetland.  We are awaiting his report but he was most impressed with the species he found there.  Although the Water Voles can cause problems on the wetlands by digging their burrows through the bunds and therefore allowing the water to go where it should not, it was excellent news to hear that they are doing exceptionally well.  Water Voles are a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.

Away from the wetland the Wood Warbler caught during CES 10 is a Red Listed bird.  They are birds of Oak woodland, singing from high up in the trees but building their nests low in scrub or even on the ground.  It was mentioned that it was the first to be ringed at Foxglove, but also it is a new species for the reserve bringing the total of different species ringed to 84.

Another new species is a carnivorous shieldbug, although it also feeds on plants.  The Bronze Shieldbug (Troilus luridus) is an insect that lives in both deciduous and coniferous woodland.  This instar was found along Risedale Beck on one of the marker posts, so it had the best of both woodlands! 

Bronze Sheildbug

A beautiful insect was photographed on Angelica.  Initial ID suggests that it is a Noon Fly (Mesembrina meridiana).  Yet another new species.  Adults feed on nectar and the eggs are laid in cow dung.  Although one source of information says that larvae feed on cow dung, another says the larvae are carnivorous and feed on other larvae!

Noon Fly

In the moth trap was a White Plume Moth.  Our records show that this was first observed in July 2009.  This is only the fourth recording of this moth.

White Plume Moth

And finally an insect that rarely hangs around long enough to be photographed is a Common Hawker.  It was found in the vegetation near one of the ponds along Risedale Beck.  Since this photograph was taken there have been several sightings of a dragonfly hunting in this area.

Emperor Dragonfly Female

The larvae of the Emperor Dragonfly can spend two years in the pond, moulting ten to fifteen times before climbing out of the water onto vegetation to shed its last skin and emerge as an adult.  The photo below shows a dragonfly larva sp.

Dragonfly sp nymph/larvae


(1) Comments:

Hazil responded on 12th Jul 2018 with...

Hi, I’ve just found this page after searching to identify a fly I saw.  You may already have figured this out but I’d just like to let you know that the specimen above is not a noon fly but a Tachina grossa, or giant tachinid fly.  I saw one for the first time today, pretty amazing 😊


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