Saturday, 11 June 2016

Post 419 - Brilliant & Totally Outstanding - The insects of BTO BirdCamp16

Hi All,
Four Spotted Chaser at Lakenheath Fen

Post 419 today and I mentioned in my BTO bird camp posts that there would be another instalment to come, well here it is. I decided that with my first two posts, since it was bird camp, that I would focus on the birds we saw.

That wasn't all we saw though. There were some nice plants and insects that we saw so I thought I'd just round up my posts on birdcamp by showing you a few invertebrates we found too. It's not long to National Insect Week now either so it seems a good idea to write this.

The Holly Blue Butterfuly

On the way to bird camp Dad and I stopped off at Weeting Heath to look for Stone Curlews. Well we didn't see them that day (though we did later in the weekend) but I did see a nice Holly Blue Butterfly which I managed to get a picture or two of. I don't seem to see these much at home so it was nice to see and it was one of the first butterflies I saw on this trip, I had seen a Brimstone flying high up down a track on the way to where I found this one.

A grasshopper with impressive antennae
We also went for a quick trip to Lakenheath with the hope of seeing a Bittern. Yet again they decided not to show themselves for us (then) but I did see a nice Hairy Dragonfly and a few Four Spotted Chasers - one of these sat nice and still for me to get a nice shot.

I also found a small grasshopper with some impressive antennae, I need to identify this one yet!

Scarce Chaser
photo by David Walsh (thanks David)
Variable Damselfly
The next day at Lakenheath we  saw another couple of nice flying insects. Dad spotted a Dragonfly he didn't recognise. Thankfully David Walsh was with us and he did - it was a Scarce Chaser and it was the reason he had come to Lakenheath that day. The photo is David's which he got through his telescope. This is a really nice Dragonfly and not one I have seen before. I don't know if it gets its name because of this but it is quite scarce in the UK and only found in the south, mainly in Suffolk and Norfolk.

A bit further on the walk we also saw a nice Damslefly, a Variable Damslefly. This is another insect I don't think I've seen before so I'm glad it sat quite nicely for a photograph. They are also not very common.
A mystery beetle!

Bugs sye view of the Small Elephant Hawk Moth
I also saw an interesting Beetle but I've not yet been able to identify it.

On the last day of Birdcamp we set off to Landguard Bird Observatory. They had more luck with insects than they did with birds that day. They had a few moth traps set up and the first one produced quite a few moths but two quite pretty ones, a Small Elephant Hawk Moth and a White Ermine. The moth that surprised Nigel who was showing us the catch was a Pearly Underwing. This is a migrant moth that he didn't expect to see. They normally don't start showing up until August.

The Pearly Underwing
White Ermine
So, not only was Birdcamp great for birds, it was also pretty good for other species too.

I've said it before but a big thank you to the BTO staff and all the young birders for making it a really brilliant weekend. Thank you too to the Cameron Bespolka Trust who helped make the weekend possible.

Hope you enjoyed,


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