Nature Notes

Bee Hotel

Three years after I first wrote about the 'bee hotel' I thought it was time to produce an update. The 'bee hotel' is a construction, actually several, that I have built in order to attract and provide nesting sites for a variety of bees (and also wasps) that nest in

LED Moth Trap

A few years ago I looked into building a light trap using LEDs which were just starting to become available with outputs in the ultra-violet (UV) range of the spectrum. It came to nothing as it turned out the LEDs were not readily available, and then only as unmounted components,

Nature Notes

While the evenings are still dark and cold I have been looking back through some ant specimens I took last year. Looking at a supposedly male Myrmica sabuleti I found under a stone a Roundton Hill I was surprised to see it had some characteristics of a female, as well

Nature Notes

A few days ago we went to the RSPB reserve of Ynys Hir, not many miles as the Raven flies, but a trip over the Cambrian Mountains to a different habitat, and to what can be a quite different climate. This time the visit was a bit disappointing, though we

Nature Notes

Mid-winter with few signs of any seasonal change, apart from the catkins on a few hazel trees opening. These mainly seem to be from plantings, with genetics unsuited to the local climate, the native hazels, with a few exceptions, wait a few weeks until the days are definitely lengthening. The

Carnivorous Mellinus

Recently I was attempting to photograph Aculeates around an area of flowering Heather (Calluna vulgaris).It was sunny and warm and several female Mellinus arvensis wasps were around the heather, apparently hunting the many flies feeding on the flowers. These are a species that provision the nest cells with various

Butterflies

I recently spent a few days taking photographs on the Causse de Gramat in the Lot region of France. The area is a superb site for flowers of limestone area and the insects that depend on them, especially butterflies. For once I had warm weather and the butterflies were taking

Wood Ants

We recently went to Blakeridge Wood near Craven Arms to try and photograph the Hairy wood ants (Formica lugubris) which are found there. These are a northern relative of the Red wood ant (Formica rufa) and are on the southern edge of their range on a few sites in the

Easter

After a dismal March with little sunshine, but plenty of rain and cool, ideal for mosses perhaps, Easter brought a sudden change. Tortula muralis In 2 days temperatures went from 5°C to 17°C bringing  bumblebees and butterflies out of hibernation. Small tortoiseshell and peacock butterflies appeared to feed

Starlings at Aberystwyth

While the numbers of birds arriving is high I have been trying to get some photos of the Starlings coming into roost at Aberystwyth pier. The first try produced some reasonably colours in the sky and a small flock of birds. But as usually happens when I go with my