Posted by: Ross Gardner | June 27, 2014

A wealth of wildlife

For those of you local to south-east Essex you might even be familiar with the Rochford Reservoir, if you’re not then you are quite likely to know of somewhere similar near where you live.  It is fair-sized lake, generously fringed with trees on its banks with an adjacent area of mowed grassland with scrubby edges.  It is somewhere that is pleasant to visit, but never without the sound of the town in the background and not one you would be likely to find in a ‘where to find wildlife in Essex’ type of book.  It is just the place I like to discover wild things, perhaps because of the reassuring knowledge that wildlife can find a foothold, even if the situations it might find itself in can be less than ideal.

It was something of a flying visit, as I had decided to drop in on my home after running an errand.  I was probably only their for about three quarters of an hour and this is what I spent a lot of my time looking at…….

Knapweed and vetchling and Rochford Reservoir

Perhaps not exactly what you might have been expecting, but enough to have me transfixed for a while.  It felt as if this small stand Lesser Knapweed and Meadow Vetchling had attracted insects from kilometres around.  Within just twenty minutes or so I had seen 5 species of hoverfly, half a dozen species of bee, including 3 bumblebees, a leaf-cutter and a mining-bee, a couple of butterflies, a pollen-feeding beetle and a damselfly in search of a snack.

I had things to do and really did have to tear myself away.

Eristalis intricarius - a bumbelee-mimcking hoverfly.  Copyright 2014 Ross Gardner)

Eristalis intricarius – a bumblebee-mimicking hoverfly. Copyright 2014 Ross Gardner

For those fellow insect geeks who might be interested, the species were:

Hoverflies: Syrphus ribesii, Episyrphus balteatus, Volucella pellucens, Eristalis intricarius, Meredon equestris

Bees: Leaf-cutter Bee (Megachile centucularis), Mining-bee (Colletes – most probably succinctus), Red-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius), Buff-tailed Bumblebee (B. terrestris), Southern Cuckoo Bumblebee (B. vestalis)

Plus Small White and Comma butterflies, the Blue-tailed Damselfly and the beetle Oedemera nobilis.


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