Archive for May 28th, 2012

28th May 2012, Monday

Back at last

Back in 2008 we started planning the return of the short-haired bumblebee Bombus subterraneus, a species last seen in the UK at Dungeness in 1988 and declared extinct in 2000.  We have searched every year for this insect since the late 1990s and considerable effort has been devoted to restoring legume-rich pasture, first at the RSPB reserve, and then across Romney Marsh.  Initially plans to bring back New Zealand bees, descended from British insects, failed because the insect was difficult to breed in captivity and also very inbred.  However the project was thrown a lifeline by Swedish entomologists who reported the healthiest population of this insect in Europe.  Otherwise it is highly endangered across the continent due to loss of wild flower-rich pastures.

So, today 51 Swedish females were released on the RSPB reserve at Dungeness.Bombus subterraneus 

This was one of the first specimens I

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28th May 2012, Monday

Castle Water

Butterfly highlights from the hide area today included Brown Argus, Common Blue, Small Copper, Small Heath, Speckled Wood and Comma.

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Brown Argus

28th May 2012, Monday

At last

There has been a big emergence of Hairy Dragonfly and Four-spotted Chaser at Castle Water in the ditch north of the hide, today I collected 64 Hairy Dragonfly and 86 Four-spotted Chaser exuviae. Teneral adults were easily found in the long grass nearby and it was a real pleasure to see so many dragonflies take to the air. Sadly there has to be some losers. I found several of each species that had failed to complete full wing expansion and strangely a Four-spotted Chaser larva that had completely failed to start the emergence process.

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Female Hairy Dragonfly with one wing that has failed to expand. Read the rest of this entry »