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Insect hunting near Pershore

Posted: Friday 22nd July 2016 by WildWriters

Red admiral (c) Gary LawsonRed admiral (c) Gary Lawson

Join Gary Lawson as he looks for the smaller things in life...

Grasshopper (c) Gary LawsonAfter the week of wind and rain, the sun finally shone over Pershore once again and it was perfect for an insect hunt.  I love insects and all invertebrates and today was perfect for them up at Tiddesley Wood due to the sunshine and a nice breeze; plus, it was also the hottest day of the year!

Just approaching Tiddesley Wood, there were lots of thistles that are about five feet high; their purple flowers attract all types of insects and they're a perfect place to start investigating and taking pictures.

Meadow brown (c) Gary LawsonThis time of year there are always lots of meadow browns fluttering about, which is always a good sign that the day ahead is going to be full of other creatures. In the same hundred yards I saw ringlets, gatekeepers, a tortoiseshell, a magnificent painted lady and a stunning red admiral: the king of butterflies in my opinion. The red, black and white colours and the crisp sharp edges of its wings just look stunning!

Longhorn beetle - Rutpela maculata (c) Gary LawsonOn entering the wood I always look out for the dragonflies because they love to hunt in the wide open paths but on this occasion there were only a few ringed damselflies. Also there were a few long-horned beetles flying from flower to flower looking for a nice feed or a mate.

Walking through the wood, there were lots of white butterflies too - large, small and green-veined - plus brimstones . The silver-washed fritillarys were in strong numbers and, as Silver-washed fritillary (c) Gary Lawsonusual, they were being chased by a large kkipper or a gatekeeper, which are at least five times smaller; it's always funny to see a large butterfly being chased off by something so small. The speckled woods were also in abundance and the first few peacocks had made an appearance too. The marbled whites are a common sight also but they are a hard butterfly to photograph.

The wildflowers at this time of year are always a sight to see and I just love standing in them and watching the insects go about their business. One of my favourite things I Ladybird and lacewing feeding on aphids (c) Gary Lawsonnoticed though was on the thistles; there were ants tending to some aphids and and on another was a ladybird and a lacewing eating the aphids. It was all so fascinating to see, observe and capture.

I finally saw some dragonflies; there were brown hawkers and common darters. The wood was buzzing with insects and when I started writing this, sat on a bench in the wood with them around me, the moment was perfect. It also helped that it was about 30 degrees!

Marbled white (c) Gary LawsonWhile walking around, there were so many of my favourite spider species: the labyrinth spider. Their amazing tangled webs spread out over all sorts of foliage; their fine webs were being directed to a long funnel in the middle. It's amazing to look into. You can even see all the discarded carcasses of their victims. I really like to get as close as I can to get some really good macro shots of these spiders.I must take about 30 shots during every trip out of this wonderful spider.

Painted lady (c) Gary LawsonButterflies are really good to photograph and you don't need a really good camera to capture great photos. Sometimes, it just takes a little patience and they will come to you if you wait by what flowers they're feeding from.

You can find out more about what Gary's been getting up to through his Twitter feed @GaryLawson81 and Instagram account.

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