Bird droppings with horns

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Tuesday, 24 September 2019 19:16

I have just got back from a slightly abbreviated visit to Ken Hill where I started the NVC map and finished the invertebrate field visits. I have so far this year recorded 747 species of invertebrates there. Definitely the biggest list for any site I have carried out a six-visit survey on, with 662 species recorded alone so far from the six standardised visits. There are dozens of tubes of specimens yet to process too. Will we get to a 1000 species? I was pleased to find Pogonocherus hispidulus by beating twigs and this proved a hit under the microscope. So I took some time today to get a good sequence of photos and I'm pretty pleased with them. This little longhorn beetle is a thing of exquisite complexity and beauty up close. Yet looks like a stinky old bird turd from a few feet away. A great tactic to avoid being eaten. Only works if you're really small though.

Not had enough Pogonocherus? OK, here's the other common one. Pogonocherus hispidus. Possibly the two most confusingly named species I know of. It's literally just missing the 'lu' at the end. A smaller less-contrasting beetle that didn't want to pose.

And the two together. Pogonocherus hispidus is a smaller beetle and has a smaller name than hispidulus. That's how I remember these two.

And Cassida vittata is always a pleasure to see.

Elsewhere on the site, a late flush of Corn Marigold (with Corn Spurrey it makes up the NVC community OV4) was growing after the Spring Barley had been harvested. Really didn't feel like late September at this point!

And Night-flowering Catchfly (on the left) identifiable long after flowering from the similar White Campion (right).

Birds were very quiet. Hardly any passerines about. Hobby and a Tree Pipit over were the highlights. One more visit to go though so maybe October will produce some rarities? Can't wait!

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