Saturday, 26 March 2011

Boardwalking with HCV Mottisfont Abbey, Romsey

I joined day one of this weekend's "New Members Task"  with Hampshire Conservation Volunteers, building boardwalks at Mottisfont Abbey, Nr Romsey. A cracking day out, learning new skills and building on previous experiences; meeting new vollies and catching up with the regulars.

Activity for the weekend involves constructing two spurs from the side of the original boardwalk to meet outlying features, each new boardwalk requiring a bridge to span the adjacent watercourse.

Photographs show progress at the end of the first working day.

The unidentified bug larvae was found under the bark of a dead tree which was lying wet in the peat at the side of the stream. The dead tree had to have a chunk cut out of it and moved to enable access for the bridge supports (this can be seen in the background of photo 1). The bug larvae (of which there were circa 10) were placed safely back under loose wet bark, when the logs were in final position.

Spring highlights included 2 ♂ brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni) butterflies and a single early ♂ orange tip (Anthocharis cardamines) on the wing; and 2 (prob 3) chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) in song throughout the day.

For more information on Hampshire Conservation Volunteers go to:

Saturday, 19 March 2011

brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni L.) on the wing

♂ seen crossing over A32 (just N of J10 on the M27) .. the first butterfly I have seen on the wing this spring .. and some 2.5 months after the first recorded sighting of the year for this species on 8th Jan 2011 somewhere in Wiltshire ..

Friday, 11 March 2011

a garden bumblebee (my first of the year)

The briefest of sojourns into the garden this morning was rewarded with my first bumblebee sighting of the year. The bumblebee did not stay long, there is little by the way of interest in the garden to warrant it's attention, a single small scabious (Scabiosa cultivar) being the only flowering plant.

The bumblebee was on limited impression, all black except for a thin red tail. Which narrows the ID: Cf Bombus lapidarius Or Cf Bombus ruderarius.  The two species are told apart by the colour of the hairs on their pollen basket. Red hairs in B. ruderarius, black hairs in B. lapidarius.

Within both species queen and worker are identical in colouration but differentiated by size. However, the queen and workers of B. ruderarius do not emerge until May where as the queens of B. lapidarius emerge in March and April, and the workers between May until August.

This would strongly suggest that the bumblebee in the garden this morning was more than likely a queen bee of the species B. lapidarius.


Pinchen, B. J., (2006). A Pocket Guide to the Bumblebees of Britain and Ireland. (2nd Edition). Forticula Books. Lymington.