A large (up to 20mm long) and very distinctive longhorn beetle with the golden iridescent bloom on the elytra and thorax plus the long antennae with dark and light bands. It is a stem borer that breeds in the stems of thistles and other herbaceous plants.
Habitat: Mainly found in moist meadows and hedgerows. Adults feed on umbellifers such as Hogweed and Cow Parsley as well as on nettles.
UK Status: This beetle is fairly common in the south and east of England.
A short walk alongside the River Mole today produced a few sightings of our two resident species of Calopterygidea Demoiselles. These are fairly large damselflies with a metallic green or blue body and the males of both species have characteristic blue wings.
This is the male Beautiful Demoiselle(Calopteryx virgo)where the dark brown-black wing pigment covers all of the wing.
On the male Banded Demoiselle(Calopteryx splendens) the dark blue-black wing pigment is a central band. In all other respects the males of both species are very similar. Unfortunately the females didn't get in front of the lens.
Green Hairstreak(Callophrys rubi). I found this individual soaking up the sun during a wander around Thursley Common. From memory this is the first time I have managed to get a decent image of this usually well camouflaged species. FAB.
I have always been fascinated by the feather patterns on the maleGadwall(Anas Strepera) but only recently managed to get one reasonable image to post here.
If you looked up the definition of Gadwall it would probably state this is a drably greyish-brown, medium sized dabbling duck but in my view that doesn't do it justice. In full breeding plumage the head of the male is brown but the rest of the body is a series of finely vermiculated grey which is boldest on the breast and its long scapulars are a pale grey-buff. Of course when scanning for this species the most obvious diagnostic features would be its black stern and a small white speculum (not visible on the above image) which is far more prominent when the duck is in flight. The origin of the name 'Gadwall' is unknown (probably from the mid 17th century) but I am glad that this delightfully patterned duck was not called a 'Grey Duck' as Carl Linnaeus allocated that to the Grey duck (Anas superciliosa superciliosa), a critically endangered species in New Zealand. FAB.