Thursday, 10 June 2010

Bumble Bees

Today a few friends and I walked around campus with Ted Benton. Ted is a professor emeritus here at Essex and has written many books, amongst them The Bumble Bees of Essex, one on butterflies and is working on one about crickets and grasshoppers. The goal of today's walk was to identify various flora and fauna. That we did. Ted helped us identify many of the bumble bee species that are hanging around the flowers. We saw a few early nesting bumble bees, white tailed and garden bumble bees, some cuckoos, and a ruderal to name those I can recall. We also spotted a few harlequin lady bugs (foreigners!), a small grasshopper, some micromoths (including a copper faced one), two speckled wood butterflies (territorial, they hang out in the sunshine and fly up when a lady comes around), the holly blue (which feeds on holly and ivy), a common blue, and a couple silver y moths. We confirmed that the moth Harry and I saw the other day was a cinnabar--beautiful enough to be a butterfly. Ted also helped us to identify some plants including forget me nots, meadow cranesbill, buttercups (including a taller, creeping variety), common birds foot trefoil (a favorite of the common blue), heath bedstraw, white campion and oxeye daisies. It was a wonderful day with wonderful weather.

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