Tuesday 10 January 2023

Salcombe Beach

On May 14th last year we went for a day on Salcombe Beach which is to the immediate east of Sidmouth. I usually visit here earlier in the year to look for early Wood White butterflies. They were bound to be on the wing by May and hopefully plenty of other insects too! I had a lovely surprise, finding and photographing Long-horned Bee. I'd only seen them once before at Eype Mouth in Dorset.


The beach looking west towards Sidmouth

Dingy Skipper - Erynnis tages 
Wood White - Leptidea sinapis

Dark-edged Bee-fly -Bombylius major
There was a lot of Red Valarian growing on the cliffs which proved extremely popular with bees and flies and whilst I was photographing this Bee-fly I spotted the Long-horned Bees. I then spent ages trying to get a photo, something I'd failed at on my previous sighting in Dorset (they're very quick!). Determination paid off though.

Long-horned Bee - Eucera longicornis
This is a male Spiny Mason Wasp. 
I've only ever seen this species on the Axmouth undercliffs and only ever females. 
The males are distinctive in that the ends of their antennae are curled in as can been seen here.

Spiny Mason Wasp - Odynerus spinipes
A Mason Wasp - Ancistrocerus sp.

Five-spotted Club-horned Wasp - Sapyga quinquepunctata

Sunday 8 January 2023

Jacob's Laddder, Lathkill Dale, Derbyshire

Surprisingly only one new plant for me last year which was the stunning Jacob's Ladder, a very scarce native plant, but very often seen in gardens. It's certainly not difficult to see how it became a popular garden flower. I've been wanting to get to this location to see it growing in the wild for many years, it's such a scenic place. Seeing as we were on a family visit to our former home town of Burton upon Trent and hence only about a fifty minute drive away and it was also the optimum time of year to see it in flower, it was too good an opportunity to miss!

We went early in the morning and pleasingly had the place to ourselves, it really was quite idyllic with the plants putting on a stunning show. Even better than I'd imagined!

The Lovely Upper Lathkill Dale. Jacob's Ladder plants centre right.

Jacob's Ladder - Polemonium caeruleum 
And a nice bonus Chimney Sweeper Moth - Odezia atrata