Friday, 10 June 2011

Highgate Common 4th June 2011

Rebecca and I went for a trip over Highgate Common last weekend to take some photos of the insects there.

We didn't see as many insects as we would have liked as the weather took a turn for the worse after such a promising start. When we got up at about 11am (we were having a lazy day) it was hot and sunny, but when we were ready to go out it had clouded over and the wind had picked up. By the time we had finished our walk it was starting to rain.

The best location we found was a bare patch of ground on a footpath, which had obviously been kept clear of vegetation by the many visitors to the reserve over the last weeks, months and years. Despite this disturbance there were many holes in the ground which bees and wasps had dug to make their nests. Here we saw Grey Mining Bees and another bee of the genus Sphecodes.

I think what also made this area ideal for bees was that it was on a warm SSW facing slope. Many mining bees seem to really like warm sunny areas, maybe because it helps to keep the soil dry?
The wardens at Highgate have also created some "Bee Beaches" but they didn't seem to be a hive of activity when we visited. It could be because plants had started to grow in what should have been bare ground or it could simply be that we were unlucky not to see anything buzzing around at the time.

In and around the same area of the Common we also found a Garden Chafer climbing up some grass. I also managed to get it to climb up my hand so I could get a closer look.

A Buff-tailed Bumble Bee landed on the footpath looking a little worse for wear. Despite the picture I don't think they like making there nests in bare, sandy ground like the Grey Mining Bee.

A little way further on our walk and we spotted a day flying moth. This was a Six-spot Burnet moth. These closely resemble Cinnabar moths but as the name suggests they are more spotty. It decided it liked the look of my jeans so I had to get Rebecca to take the photo.

I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Thanks for reading, John.

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