A Few of Boltons Bugs – Queens Park

Hoverfly resting
Pretending to be a wasp, Hoverfly (Chrysotoxum elegans)

If there’s one thing we know how to do well in this country it’s the nature documentary – hasn’t BBC Springwatch been great and we’re only into week one. Needless to say, with the beautiful weather we’ve been having and being a bit inspired by Springwatch I ventured out to Queens Park in Bolton during my lunch hour to see what mini beasts I could snap.

Lovely colours on these tiny mating Green Dock Beetles

There were tiny metallic green beetles on all the Dock along the edge of the River Croal which I later learned (by the powers of the internet) were Green Dock Beetle (Gastrophysa viridula). The male above is obscuring an egg laden female but I managed to grab a photo of another that ha shaken off her amorous friends.

Gravid (with eggs) Green Dock Beetle female

You can see just how many eggs she is carrying as her abdomen is so swollen. Sticking with these little green beauties I spotted a cluster of their yellow eggs on the underside of the Dock so I’ll be keeping an eye on these to see when they hatch.

It was also interesting, once I ‘got my eye in’ just how many different species of insect can be seen in a town park. There’s nothing unusual about Queens Park, it has all the usual ponds, trees, grass with a mixture of untended patches but this seems to provide an excellent habitat for all sorts of creatures.

The first photograph is one such. I’m sure we’ve all seen Hoverflies but have we ever actually looked at them? I know I haven’t but after sitting still for a while the one above just came and sat right in front of me – it would have been rude not to photograph him. I’ve checked on the internet and I’m fairly sure it’s a normal Hoverfly (Chrysotoxum elegans) but I’m no insect expert so I’m willing to be corrected. It’s completely harmless unless you’re about the size of an aphid but mimics the markings of a Wasp to try and fool predators into not eating it.

Mating pair of Common Blue Damselflies

And it wouldn’t be much of a photography trip at this time of year without at least one image of these beautiful Common Blue Damselflies (Enallagma cyathigerum). There are more this year than I’ve seen for some time and the larger of the ponds was covered in mated pairs laying the eggs of the next generation.

One thing that was lacking was the usual butterfly suspects but after spotting a patch of nettles that we’re rapidly being demolished I noticed a group of well grown Red Admiral caterpillars munching them down to their flower tops. Hopefully we’ll see the adults later in the year.

It was around this time last year that we had the huge influx of Painted Lady butterflies and although I’ve not seen any yet, hopefully with recent hot spell will convince them to fly North once more.

All of the photo’s we’re taken using the ‘standard’ 18-55mm kit lens that came with the Canon EOS450D and although I’m sure a dedicated macro lens would be sharper and give me more options I’m happy with the results.

No Springwatch till next Monday and more hot weather forecast – looks like i’ll be taking a few more…

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