Friday, 31 July 2015

Day 270 - Some Lovely Northern National Parks

A lovely North York Moors View
Hey everyone today's Day 270 and before I start I want to say that from tomorrow for 1 week there probably won't be daily posts as I am holiday in Norfolk. I had thought about scheduling some but it's hard to get 9 posts done in a couple of days. I might have access to Wifi & technology while away but as I'll be off out nature hunting most of the time (love looking for bats and nightjars where we're going) I may not get time. So because of this I thought I would do a special and slightly different post today.

The Moors at Snilesworth.
I've been watching twitter and noticed this week is National Park Week so I thought I would write about the National Parks that I have been to in the last week. I'm lucky enough to live close to two and the third is not too far away and I generally get to this one a few times a year. So here are the parks and a few of the lovely places I go and the things I have seen in them:

Looking over Lake Gormire
This National Park is the closest to me, it has places like Whitby, Silton Forest, Littlebeck woods and a lots more of beautiful places. It has some lovely moors there, some of which are managed for Pheasants and Grouse, but there are some moors that are managed just for wildlife. In between the moors there are loads of valleys some are which have lovely woods in them.

Some of the things I have seen on and around the moors include:
Toad Patrol and a newt!
There are lots more things I've seen, and lots of places I go to like Whitby and Sandsend for Rock pooling and Fossil Hunting, Silton Forest for walks and nature hunting, Cod Beck at Osmotherly for walks and Toad Patrol, Snilesworth, Lake Gormire, Sutton Bank, Rievaulx's a fabulous place! I did a special post on the North York Moors a little while ago.

The Champion Cherry at Fountains
Well, this is also quite close to me but a bit further away than t'moors so I don't get there quite as often. We do go to a lovely area called Clapham sometimes to see some friends that live there and have dinner and a walk. I was there last weekend in a place called Askrigg and had planned to have a walk and nature hunt but it was raining really heavily so we didn't manage that time. We've also been to the lovely waterfalls at Aysgarth.

We most often get to the Eastern parts of the Dales. Fountains Abbey is on the way and I go there quite a lot. We like a couple of walks in Ripon where I've seen lots of great wildlife and also go to Masham, though that's usually to go and have a nice roast beef dinner at the Black Sheep Brewery. We also go around Nidderdale to places like Brimham Rocks, this is looked after by the National Trust and it's a great place for nature, for rock scrambling and ultimate hide and seek!

Some of the things I have seen here include
    The Dales are also a great place to visit and there are lots of things to do. I'm getting better at hill walking and one day I hope to do the Three Peaks walk - this is very long but the countryside is stunning.

    My first holiday - by Blea Tarn - very relaxing :-)
    Well as it was Dad's first day of his holiday yesterday we had a little trip over to the Lake District for a little walk. It was fabulous and I saw some great wildlife but I'm saving one of the species I saw for a special post.... :-)

    Mostly when we go over we have little holidays and stay around Windermere, in fact my first ever holiday was in the Lake District. 
    A little way up Skiddaw

    I've been up some of the big hills, well part way up, I had got about two thirds of the way up Skiddaw once when it got cloudy and rainy so we turned back.

    The Fairfield Horseshoe in Winter from Windermere
    As I don't go there so often I haven't done many posts on the wildlife I've seen there but here are a few photos of some of the lovely places I've visited. I have posted a few things I've see at Leighton Moss which you totally must visit if you are over in the Lake District, a fabulous wild place!

    Some lovely woods and a beck near Windemere

    Well, I hope you enjoyed, and of course I'll post and tweet during the week if I can,


    Thursday, 30 July 2015

    Day 269 - Beautifully Brilliant and Magnificent Burnished Brass Moth

    Burnished Brass Moth (Diachrysia chrysitis)
    Hey everyone today's Day 269 and, as you will all most definitely know, I love to go to a place called Silton Forest on the edge of the North York Moors. It is an incredible place full of all different types of wildlife from Moths to Deer, from Birds to Beetles. Today, like a lot of posts recently, I will be covering the Moth side of things. This one was quite hard to see as it was actually camouflaged! I couldn't believe it when I saw this Moth. It's a Burnished Brass Moth, thanks to @jillwarrick for help with the identification. It looks like it's doing a little handstand on the leaf! It was out in the open so its camouflage must have been good enough to hide it from all the birds - but not from my beady-eyed Mum!

    So here are the facts:

      It was sat on this lighter coloured leaf among all the
      darker leaves.
    • The Wingspan ranges from 28mm - 35mm and the fore-wing ranges from 16mm  - 18mm.
    • As we discovered they are fantastic at camouflaging themselves and their colouring blends in perfectly with leaves as they are brown and green, and have a slightly metallic appearance which is where they get their name from I think. There were lots of darker leaves around but the moth had picked on almost the same colour as it.
    • They are found all over the UK though they are less common in Northern Ireland and Wales.
    • I have noticed that I have quite a Global Audience so I thought I would write about where they are found around the rest of the World such as in Russia, Siberia, and Europe...
    A moths eye view.
    • ...including Spain, Southern Italy, The Caucasus Islands, and even in Japan and the Arctic Circle!
    • This species lays two broods between June and September most commonly.
    • The Larvae feed on plants such as Nettle and Marjoram where their eggs are laid. They can also eat and thrive on Red Valerian, Thistles and Buddleia.
    • The Larvae hatch in late Summer, they feed for a while and then hibernate when they are quite small. They usually hibernate in leaf litter around a food-plant.
    • Around April, Caterpillars wake up and start eating again. Then in May they will form a cocoon underneath a leaf, folding its edges around it.
    It was doing a handstand
    - how do their arms or legs not get tired?
    • After about 4 weeks the Adult then emerges, this stage is where it eats a bit more, breeds and then the cycle starts again.
    Here are some links to some more information:

    Hope you enjoyed,


    Wednesday, 29 July 2015

    Day 268 - Happily Handsome Hummingbird Hawkmoths

    Hummingbird Hawkmoth (Macroglossum stellatarum)

    Hey everyone today's Day 268 and 262 days ago, on Day 6, I covered the Hummingbird Hawkmoth and I am going to be completely honest with myself, it wasn't my best post, which is probably why it's only had 43 views. There is some exciting news though, it's back! I've had them visit our garden now for a few years, they feed on our Red Valerian though this year they seem late and almost of the flowers were gone so I was worried they might not be back this year. So I was very happy to see one on Saturday and I got some much better photos of him and, because he was tired, I had one of the most exhilarating experiences in my life. I had a wild Hummingbird Hawkmoth in my hand!
    Here its proboscis is wound up

    Well, you already know what the post's about so here are the facts:

    • It has an average wingspan of between 40mm-50mm which are very hard to catch in a photo as they use them to hover. You can sort of see them in my photos.
    • The reason they use their wings to hover is so they can feed on their food-plants, feeding through their long proboscis. Like Hummingbirds which is how they get their name.
    A bugs eye view
    • Speaking of their food-plants, they like to feed on all things Nectar, in our garden they most like to eat the Red Valerian's Nectar. 
    • They tend to feed in the daytime and apart from Red Valerian they like Aubretia, Buddleia, and Vipers Bugloss. 
    • The caterpillars are as long as the largest wingspan, 50mm. They are also very colourful. 
    It had a rest on the pavement outside out house
    • Caterpillar foodplants tend to be Ladys Bedstraw, Hedge Bedstraw and Wild Madder but they have also been seen laying eggs on Red Valerian....I wonder if mine have laid eggs....
    • They are Green or Red-Brown with White dots and White, Dark and Yellow Horizontal Stripes along with a Blue horn which has a Yellow-tip.
    • They are found all over the UK apart from The Republic of Ireland and there have only been one or two in the North of Ireland and are less common the further North you go.
    • It seems they are mainly migrant moths but increasingly they may be breeding in the UK
    I moved it so it wouldn't get trodden on!
    • They live in basically any places that has their food-plants such as as Parks and Gardens, Woodlands, Coastal, Farmland and Grassland.
    • They are found between May and September officially but they are most common between June and September.
    Here are some links to some more information:

    Hope you enjoyed,


    Tuesday, 28 July 2015

    Day 267 - Crackingly Beautiful and Marvellous Clouded Border Moth

    Clouded Border Moth (Lomaspilis marginata)
    Hey everyone today's Day 267, as you might know by now I go to a lot of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Reserves around and about North Yorkshire. There are lots of different habitats in the different reserves. One I have only been to once or twice is Askham Bog, which I must go back to soon as I'd like to see how good it is for dragonflies on a nice sunny day. Last time I visited I saw yesterdays species, the Meadow Brown, as well as today's post which is themed around the Moth side of things. In fact, a lot of my posts lately have been so you should be well used to the layout of them by now. This particular moth is one that I really loved looking at and getting pictures of him. From the title and pictures you'll know that I am talking about the Clouded Border Moth.

    So, here are the facts:

    • They aren't actually that common living mostly in East Anglia but they are common in a diagonal strip across the UK from the South-West to Central East. They are found a bit in Ireland.
    I'd disturbed it and it sat nicely on this holly for me
    • They fly most commonly between May and July at night. They can be disturbed in the day, like what happened with this one.
    • There is some controversy between how big their wingspan is but I will say that they can be up to 38mm.
    • They are mainly White with some black markings on the top of their fore-wings and around the rest of their wings.
    • In the photos that I saw and one website told me that the black colours on the Moth vary lots. I saw one that looked Brown!
    • On top of that there are some rare variations, completely Black or White individuals can be seen, even rarer completely Brown ones as well as an extremely rare diluta form where the black colours are replaced with a yellow or gold colour!
    • The larval food-plants are mainly Willow, Sallow and Hazel but they have also been seen on Birch and Poplar.
      Askham Bog has great plants too like this Royal Fern
      - Europes largest fern 
    • They spend the winter as a pupa and apparently can spend up to four winters in this state.
    • The main habitats to see these moths are heaths, bogs and damp woodlands.
    Well, that's what I found out about this pretty little species. If you want to find out more, its quite tricky but try these sites:

    Hope you enjoyed,


    Monday, 27 July 2015

    Day 266 - Magnificently Beautiful and Brilliant Meadow Brown Butterfly

    Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina)
    Hey everyone today's Day 266 and anyone that saw yesterday's post will know that I went to Little Beck Woods. They are a beautiful place to go to, and if you are ever around Whitby, see if you can find the lovely village of Littlebeck and it's quite easy to find the sign. There is so much wildlife there and in yesterday's post I included a picture of the lovely Speckled Wood Butterfly. I saw another butterfly on my way there, and on the way back, which I haven't covered so far, the Meadow Brown. So that's what we'll be covering today. They were hard to photograph yesterday so the pictures here are from Askham Bog Nature Reserve.

    So, here are the facts:
    • This Butterfly is one of the most common and wide-spread Butterflies and is found throughout the Summer Months. So being this common you'd think they'd be easy to photograph! Not for me they always seem to fly off when I get close enough!
    • They are very common throughout England, Wales and Scotland. They are found a little bit in Northern Ireland and not at all in the Republic or the Shetlands.
    • They are found from April to October, but not commonly but between June and September the peak. They also can be seen out flying in dull weather even in light rain.
    The closet I've been to one with my camera at the ready
    • They are found in Grasslands, Heathlands, Coastal Dunes, Road-Side Verges, Woodlands, Hedgerows, Parks, and Large Gardens and Meadows. Anywhere with tall grasses.
    • The caterpillar food plants are mainly grasses and they seem to be able to feed on fine grasses when little and the more rough or coarse grasses a they get bigger.
    • They don't form breeding colonies on places like Road-Side Verges or Parks if they are regularly mown as this removes Nectar Sources.
    • It is a medium sized Butterfly with Males having 40mm - 55mm wingspan while the Females have a 42mm - 60mm wingspan.
    • They are Brown, obviously, and velvety with orange markings on their fore-wings...
    • There are regional variations of these markings with the sizes of Orange Patches and Black circles varying. In Northern Ireland and Scotland, the Butterfly itself tends to be larger than in the South of the country.
    Here are some links to some more information:

    Hope you enjoyed,


    Sunday, 26 July 2015

    Day 265 - A Nature Ramble at Littlebeck Wood

    The start of my Littlebeck Wood walk  - a lovely green tunnel
    Hey everyone today's Day 265 and I am officially 100 days off the end of my year long adventure! To celebrate I thought I`d share a new place with you, well new to us, it`s been around for a while and some of you who live in North Yorkshire might know it but we had never been to it before! The North York Moors is a great area and there's lots of places I've still to explore and it was great to find this one. We`ll definitely be going back though because we loved it!  It`s a little place called Littlebeck which is on the outskirts of Whitby, near to Ruswarp. The woods there are a Yorkshire Wildlife Trust reserve. Anyway here are some details about it and what we saw there:

    A little beck

    • The woods are fantastic, and we had a lovely walk along the path which ran alongside the beck or stream. This is actually part of the Coast to Coast walk too.
    • We knew that there were Nuthatches in the woods and we could hear them, but we just didn't manage to see any to take any pictures :`-(  We also heard Tawny Owls.

    A Speckled Wood Butterfly
    • We spotted a lovely little butterfly, the Speckled Wood.  It was sunning itself on a leaf and stayed nice and still for a while for me to take a few pictures.  I've already done a post on this little butterfly and you can find out all about it here.....Speckled Wood Butterfly Post.

    Ground Beetle - very fast! Hard to photograph!
    • There were lots of lovely rotting logs lying around which we of course had to turn over to investigate what was underneath them and living in them! Amongst other beasties we found toads, woodlice, spiders and beetles but by far the most impressive find was a fabulous Ground Beetle!  I think I'll do a whole post on him so I won't go into detail here, but check back soon!

    Dryad's Saddle - well, I think its is.
    • There were some fantastic species of Fungi on some of the trees too, like this one. I think this one is a species called Dryads Saddle (Polyporus squamosus) but it was a bit high up for me to get a good look but from what I've read it does fruit at this time of year. A Dryad is a mythical wood nymph and there are stories in Greek mythology about them. They are quite quickly eaten by insects so if this is Dryads Saddle maybe I was lucky to see it.

    Part of the woodland path
    • We didn't get chance to do the whole walk but if we had we would have come across a cave known as the Hermitage, which we will make sure we visit next time. This is a cave that in the eighteenth century was inhabited by a hermit who lived off what the wood provided.  We did find one cave that was much smaller that you could only really crawl into, and it was made of shale. I'll look forward to seeing the Hermitage next time.

      Falling Foss
    • As we were leaving we were speaking to a man repairing the paths, he told us how to get to a car park near to Falling Foss waterfall so we drove round to the other side to take a look. It was well worth it. It was a fantastic water fall about 10 metres tall. When I researched it I found that its name is probably from the Norse (or Viking) 'Fors' which means waterfall. One to visit if you get a chance.

    Well, it was most definitely one of the best places I have ever been and I saw loads of things, some of which I had never seen before.

    Hope you enjoyed,


    Saturday, 25 July 2015

    Day 264 - Terribly Diverse Tapered Droneflies

    Tapered Drone Fly (Eristalis pertinax)
    Hey everyone today's Day 264 and you'll all know that I love to go to a place called Silton Forest on the North York Moors this is a great place to go to and it is very diverse in terms of what lives there. There are Birds, Deer, Insects and even Lampreys. Today's post, like most ones recently, I will be covering the Insect Bracket of this. There are a lot of different flies that live there such as the Tapered Dronefly. The specific one that you can see in these pictures is Eristalis pertinax.

    So, here are the facts:

    • As you'll see in the photo of Silton I found them in a habitat they enjoy, they are found in hedgerows and woodland rides - Silton forest is great for them.
    The main track at Silton Forest
    - lined with hogweed great for bug hunting!
    • I've seen lots of them this month on the hogweed which has been flowering along the main track in the forest. As adults they feed nectar and can see them hovering around flower blooms.
    • The larvae though live in a very different place! They like drainage ditches and pools near to manure piles. It seems they like water with lots of organic material in to eat.
    • They can live in stagnant water, that is water with out much or any oxygen. They can do this as they have a tube from their rear which goes to the surface for them to breathe. This feature has given them their common name 'Rat Tailed Maggot'!
    • They move to drier places to pupate and the pupa is quite large being 10mm - 12mm while the adult's wingspan isn't much more, It's usually about 15mm.
      Feeding on the hogweed.

    • On top of this, the actual adult length is actually the same length as the pupa.
    • They are very common in England and Wales but they start to thin out the further North you go. In Ireland they are very spread out and hardly seen.
    • They can be found relatively commonly between March and September but they are found most between May and August.
    • They look quite a lot like a Drone Honey Bee so I didn't want to get too close. They do get some protection from this as a predator wouldn't like to eat a Stinging Insect.
    Basking in the sunlight.
    • They are hover flies and can hover but also their flight mimics that of honey bees to give it further protection.
    • These flies belong to the group 'True Flies'. This family includes well known sub-species such as Mosquitoes, Crane-Flies and Bluebottles.
    Here are some links to some more information:

    Hope you enjoyed,


    Friday, 24 July 2015

    Day 263 - Gorgeously Beautiful Gatekeeper Butterflies

    Gatekeeper ( Pyronia tithonus )
    Hey everyone today's Day 263 and there is a place just near York which I sometimes go to. This place is called Askham Bog, run by Yorkshire Wildlife Trusts. It is a nice place to visit just away from the 'hussle and bussle' of the city. It's quite near to the York Designer Outlet so when my Mum's shopping there me and my Dad go for a walk around! There are some interesting plants there as well as a variety of Animals Insects such as the Gatekeeper Butterfly.

    So, here are the facts:

    • They are confined to England and Wales and they are pretty common there but they are not found in Scotland or Ireland.
    • They have sadly declined since the 1970s. It seems that they have declined by 12% in the last 45 years!
    Wings half closed up
    • They live in a range of habitats such as Coastal, Grassland, Heathland, Woodland and Towns and Gardens. They can commonly be found in Hedgerows and even on the side of Country Roads. 
    • They are most common though where tall grasses meet hedges, trees or shrubs. This is probably why you see som many by hedgerows and why they have the common name of Hedge Brown!
    • A way that we could help their numbers is to manage any Hedgerows and Woodland Edges. A couple of ways to do this is just to plant some more hedgerows or help to clear scrubby areas to make them a better environment.
    • They are most common in July and August but they can be found from June into September.
    • The Male has rather small wingspan of just 37mm - 43mm while the Females have a wingspan of 42mm - 48mm.
    And fully folded
    • A little bit more Sexual Dimorphism is that they look different. The Male has a Dark Patch on his fore-wing which produces a scent which they mostly use in Courtship Displays.
    • The Larvae are found from late August to late June, the Pupa from Early June to early August and the Imago (butterfly) is most commonly found from late July to August.
    • The adults seem to prefer the foodplants of Bramble and Ragwort but larval foodplants are mainly different types of grasses.
    Here are some links to some more information:

    Hope you enjoyed,


    Thursday, 23 July 2015

    Day 262 - Regal Ringlets

    1. A tattered Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus)
    at Nosterfield.
    Hey everyone today's Day 262 and as you will all know, I like to go to Silton Forest. It's a great place for wildlife and I see a lot of fabulous things there. I also go to a lovely place called Nosterfield Nature Reserve, run by a small charity called LUCT. Both of these places host a huge amount of nature such as flowers and birds but they also are places for Butterflies such as the Ringlet to live in. These are the most lovely little butterflies which at first I got confused with the Chimney Sweeper Moth because of the white outline, there were dozens of them so there were obviously plants there they liked. The difference in the butterflies in the pictures puzzled me for a while, I thought one might be another species, but I found out they were all the same one and I'll tell you why in my facts.

    So, here they are:

    • The Males has a rather mediocre wingspan of 42mm - 48mm while the Female just beats this (as in most Butterflies) with a healthy wingspan of 46mm - 52mm.
    • Three examples of the Butterfly that I saw all looked different. I have numbered the photos so you will see which ones are which.
    2. One in better condition  at Silton Forest
    1. This one was all tattered. It looked like it was old and had lost his wing on something. Possibly a fight or maybe it was just caught on a stick or something like that.
    2. This one looked like it was wasn't as old and was in pretty good condition, you could see the rings on it quite well.
    3. This one looked very newly emerged. It was slightly glossy and wet, making it look nice and shiny. It had a White outline on it and looked much like a Chimney Sweeper.
    • They are extremely common in England, Scotland and Wales. The population map that I saw was completely filled! In Ireland they can be found in the North.
    • They are occasionally found in April until June and in September until October, but they peak in early July and then start decline again.
    3. A young Ringlet at Nosterfield not far away from the first one.
    • They live in grassy areas, moist or dry forest clearings without bushes, but they aren't found in open places.
    • The Adults feed on Nectar (of course) from Brambles and Thistles which are their favourite, and the larvae eat a variety of Grasses such as Cock's foot and and Tufted-Hair Grass.
    • Adults have a gorgeous velvety appearance. On their under wings they have tiny circles (which gives them their name) and these can vary from white-ish circles which can be round or elongated or tear-drop shaped, to tiny white dots.
    • Males and females look very similar, although the males have special "scent scales" on their forewings and typically patrol hedgerows in two looking for mates.  Females, once they have mated, will eject their eggs randomly into the air which then lands (hopefully!) on vegetation.
    Here are some links to some more information:

    Hope you enjoyed,


    Wednesday, 22 July 2015

    Day 261 - Respectfully Beautiful Rove Beetle

    Beetle's Eye View of the Ocypus Brunnipes
    Hey everyone today's Day 261 and I love to go to a place called Silton Forest, as 99.9% of you will know, and it is filled with insects, birds, rodents, small mammals and even large mammals such as deer! I usually see bugs and insects the most and I love taking pictures of them and of course writing the posts about them. One of them that I will definitely like to cover is the Respectfully Beautiful Rove Beetle.

    So, here are the facts:

    • Rove Beetles are a family of Beetles called Staphylinid, they are identifiable because of their short elytra or wing cases.
    • You wouldn't think that a Rove Beetle is a real Beetle at all as it looks nothing like one because of these short forewings and its exposed abdomen. 
    • They can still fly, though. Most Rove Beetles have another set of wings on their back to make up for their short front ones.
    • Most Rove Beetles have glands where they release chemicals for defence and for 'Chemical Mimicry'.
    • In the 1998 count of beetles, there was a huge amount of beetles in the Staphylinid species. There were 46,275... !!
    • The species of Rove Beetle that you can see in the pictures is an Ocypus Brunnipes. They aren't very common...
    • ...There are hardly any of them in Ireland, it's the same story with Scotland. But in England and Wales there are quite a lot more. They are most common in the East of England.
    Oh there you are.
    • In the most recent count, it was found that there are actually 60,000 species of Rove Beetle, almost the same amount of Rove Beetle Species as there are animals with Backbones!! That's incredible!!
    • The sizes range from 1mm all the way up to 35mm but they average from 2mm to 8mm.
    • They are believed to have lived as long as 240 million years ago!
    Here are some links to some more information:

    Hope you enjoyed,


    Tuesday, 21 July 2015

    Day 260 - Respectfully Super and Brilliant Red Soldier Beetles

    Red Solider Beetle (Rhagonycha fulva)
    Hey everyone today's Day 260. I have chosen another Beetle because I just can't get over the fact that a quarter of all animal species is a Beetle and a fifth of all living things is a Beetle! There are over 300,000 known species Beetles in the World and Beetles were first recorded living 240 million years ago. Well, that's the pre-amble done so on to today's blog which is all about Red Soldier Beetles. They are lovely Beetles and I loved taking pictures of them.

    So, here are the facts:

    • There are around 40 species of Soldier Beetle in the UK and they vary in colour combinations of Red, Orange and Black. They are similar to the Cardinal Beetle but are thinner.
    • It is sometimes known as the 'Bloodsucker Beetle' because of its vibrant red colour. They are generally Red and Orange with Black Tips on their wings.
    Sharing the Hogweed with Thunderbugs
    • It's a medium size being a slightly respectful 1cm long with antennae about half the size of them. 
    • They are commonly found in Grassland, Woodland, Hedgerows, Parks and Gardens and they particularly like Daisies, Cow Parsley and Hogweed. They certainly liked it in Silton Forest where I got these shots!
    • They can be seen from March through to October but are usually found during June, July and August.
    • Adults are generally seen in pairs as they spend most of their short Adult lives mating and laying eggs.
    • They are predatory insects who eat small, soft bodied insects such as Aphids as well as Pollen and Nectar. 
    You often see these beetles mating -
    its given them an alternative name!
    • Their brown maggot like larvae eat small invertebrates, some sites say small invertebrates like springtails and tiny insects while others say  things such as Slugs and Snails which they find near to their homes in the base of Long Grasses.
    • They have a couple of names such as the Sailor Beetle and to see the other one look at UK Safari with the link below. You'll see
    Here are some links to some more information:

    Hope you enjoyed,


    Monday, 20 July 2015

    Day 259 - Fabulously Brilliant and Lovably Beautiful Four-Banded Longhorn Beetles

    A Four Banded Longhorn Beetle (Leptura quadrifaciata)
    Hey everyone today's Day 259 and at the weekend I was on a walk in at Silton Forest, what most of you will know by now is my favourite place to go. I see so much nature there which was always there in the first place, I just never looked for it, but because of this blog I am always looking out for birds, bugs and whatever else I can see. I also think I've developed better eye-sight for seeing them, but probably not. From the title and pictures you'll know that I am talking about the Four-Banded Longhorn Beetles.

    They were very hard to find information on so this post is mainly about them but some facts are about all types of Longhorn Beetles as well.

    So, here are the facts:
    • They are found all over the UK, Ireland, though, doesn't have many of these, They are mostly found in Northern Ireland, there's only been one or two sightings in the Republic.
    • The reason we found it in Silton Forest was probably because it's a mixed woodland, the sources of information I found didn't agree on what was their favourite wood, some say coniferous while others said willow but a few seemed to agree Birch was probably their favourite.
    A bugs eye view
    • The reason for that is because the Females usually lay their eggs on dead wood, especially  the Birch.
    • They spend 2 years of their life as larvae and 1 year as an adult making them live for a good-for-an-insect 3 years.
    • In the Larval stage of their life they eat wood. As an adult they are pollen feeders and you will often see them on plants such as this hogweed. I found a great descriptive word for this type of flower - an umbellifer! 
    • You won't miss this Beetle if you are looking at the flowers of any plants because of its vibrant Yellow/Orange and Black colours.
    Feeding on an umbellifer.
    • Their body-length is between 11mm and 19 mm but their horns look just less than double their size.
    • These types of creature are an essential part of our ecosystem. The larval stage is spent inside dead wood, eating their way out, breaking it down into humus which helps more plants to grow.
    Here are some links to some more information:

    Hope you enjoyed,