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Wednesday 12th July

Wednesday 12th July 2017:
This afternoon visit to the section of The Common on the west of the Worcester Road.  I was heading back from a hospital appointment in Worcestershire and, as I had already packed my binos and camera in the car, it would have been rude not to stop off.

It was a warm sunny day and butterfly activity was plentiful.  The first of the day's highlights came from one such butterfly in the form of a Purple Hairstreak that was flitting about around one of the mature Oaks.  This was really pleasing as it was my first for the species this year.  Other noteable butterflies encountered were 3 Red Admiral, 4 Comma, 1 Small Copper, 2 Large White and 1 Small WhiteMeadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Small Skipper and Essex Skipper were also plentiful.

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

Sticking with the Oak trees I found two rather stunning Oak Leaf-roller beetles on one of the younger Oak trees.  These weevils get there name as the female will lay a single egg is laid near the edge of a leaf, cut the leaf and roll it up to protect the developing egg.

Oak Leaf-roller (Attelabus nitens) 

It was also very noticeable the sheer abundance of Oak Artichoke Galls that are present this year.  These galls that resemble young globe artichoke flowers are caused by the gall wasp Andricus foecundatrix. The female wasp lays single eggs within leaf buds of Oak using her ovipositor and the chemicals produced cause the gall to to form, protecting the egg and developing larvae. 

Other galls recorded on the Oaks today were Oak Marble and Silk Button Spangle, both of which are caused by specific species of gall wasp.

Oak Artichoke Gall (Andricus foecundatrix)

Oak Marble Gall  (Andricus kollari)

Silk Button Spangle Gall  (Neuroterus numismalis)

As I continued my walk around this stretch of the Common I was greated by the sight of my first few Harebell of the year in bloom.  Soon they will be fairly numerous in some parts of the site but it is always welcoming to see these delicate bell shaped blooms.

Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia)

On the Hymenoptera front the Beewolf was very much in evidence with 4 ♂ noted during the visit.  One male was returning to the same perch almost every time when it returned from its patrol in an almost chaser dragonfly like fashion.  It made for a photo opportunity which was just too good to pass up on!

♂ Beewolf (Philanthus triangulum)

The final highlight of what had been a most productive visit came in the form of an immature ♂  White-legged Damselfly.  This is a species that I had not recorded on the Common before and this individual had most likely ventured across from the nearby River Severn.

White-legged Damselfly (Platycnemis pennipes)

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