I started today's visit by walking a circuit of the Cooks garden centre side of Hartlebury Common. The reason i have been focusing a lot of my time and attention on this side of the Common of late is two fold. Due to the permitted grazing of the grasslands by the travelling community's horses/ponies it is rich in a variety of flora that is no where near as abundant elsewhere on the site. This flora in turn attracts a wide variety of inverts, Secondly it is an under recorded section of the Common and has the potential to turn up something interesting.
The first thing that was noticeable was the dramatic increase in Gatekeeper butterfly numbers since my previous visit a few days before. They were now seemingly everywhere. Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Small Skipper and Essex Skipper were still also present in good numbers. That said, I didn't record any Marbled White or Small Heath today though.
Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus)
Whilst looking around the lower foliage of a mature Oak tree I found a Scarce Footman moth at rest on one of the leaves. It's amazing just how species rich oak trees are, they are always worth a mooch around.
Scarce Footman (Eilema complana)
Quite a few thistles were now in bloom and were being visited by an array of insects. One plant that I observed for a few minutes had Early Bumblebee, Red-tailed Bumblebee, Marmalade Hoverfly and a Thick-legged Flower Beetle visiting it's blooms.
Marmalade Hoverfly (Episyrphus balteatus)
Thick-legged Flower Beetle (Oedemera nobilis) ♀
From the west side of the Common I headed up to the Wilden Top car pak area. I wanted to spend some more time observing, and hopefully photographing, the Brown-banded Carder Bees in that area. At the crater their was once again both Common Carder Bees and Brown-banded Carder Bees were feeding on the flowers of the Wood Sage. I took dozens of shots and yet when I came to edit them not one decent one of a Brown Banded was in focus. So for now I have attached a slightly out of focus record shot until I can achieve better. I will keep trying at this one!!!
Wood Sage (Teucrium scorodonia)
Brown-banded Carder Bee (Bombus humilis)
(Slightly out of focus record shot)