US social scientist Kenneth Boulding : ‘If you believe exponential growth can go on in a finite world, you are either a madman or an economist’.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

31/7/10: Bushy Park: Beewolf, Wasp Spider and Mistletoe (bugs)

A London Natural History Society field trip with a largely entomological bent.

On the way down I noted quite a lot of White-flowered Buddleia beside the railway, especially just south of Wimbledon. (The other place where this is/was the case is between the tracks not far from Paddington station).

In Hampton Wick High Street there were a few Tree of Heaven saplings, Ground Elder, Ivy-leaved Toadflax, a Galinsoga sp. and Greater Celandine. There was a nice vertical run of Hart's-tongue Fern in an alcove on the railway bridge over Seymour Rd. A couple of 'escaped' Papaver (probably rupifragum) were also spotted.

Bushy Park, general view

The best area in Bushy Park for general invertebrates was one fenced off from the deer, allowing the grass to grow. Here were found:

- several Gatekeepers
- a Small Heath
- a copulating pair of Common Blues
- Silver Y
- Cinnabar Moth caterpillars
- lots of Burnet Moths

- 3 female Wasp Spiders, one with a male in its web

- Roesel's Bush Cricket

- Birch Catkin Bug
- Parent Bug (on Birch, sitting over its eggs)

There were a significant number of Hawthorns with Mistletoe on them, with a lot of these trees looking in a bad way. There was a bit on a Willow as well. After much persistence with a sweep net - and makeshift handle extension - LNHS bug expert Dr. Tristan Bantock managed to catch all four Bug species specific to Mistletoe, including Anthocoris visci, Hypseloecus visci and Pinalitus viscicola, as well as the Mistletoe pysllid (Cacopsylla visci).

Tristan Bantock poised to hunt Mistletoe bugs

Mistletoe on Hawthorn in Bushy Park

Elsewhere an Oak Bush Cricket and a Purple Hairstreak were swept.

On a compacted path we came across the nest holes of Philanthus triangulum, the Beewolf (the name of which put me in mind of films about WW2 U-boats ...) and saw several provisioning them with their paralysed bee prey. I had a great close-up view when a bee-laden female decided to land on my arm. Good photo of this species here:

There are a number of water courses and artificial lakes across the site.

Odonata seen were
- a Brown Hawker
- a Common Darter
- a Common Blue Damselfly
- Blue-tailed Damselflies
- a large number of (Large) Red-eyed Damselflies

3 small Common Toads were found in various places away from the water.

Plants included a lot of Skullcap at the water's edge, a single Trifid Bur-marigold, Greater Duckweed (Spirodela polyrhiza) and the non-native floating Water Fern (Azolla filiculoides).

Greater Duckweed (the larger floating discs) amongst a smaller species

Birds here included a number of Egyptian Geese (one pictured below, with Canada Goose in the background).

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