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Recent sightings from Silverlink

With summer in full swing, there has been lots to enjoy on the local patch.

Pottering around at Silverlink last weekend, there was a great deal to see. Now, at the height of Summer, the site’s grassland areas are looking particularly good and it was great to sit back and enjoy the variety of wildflowers on show.

Among the plants in bloom, Betony, Viper’s-bugloss and Yellow-wort were the most conspicuous. Zigzag Clover was flowering too and, while far less numerous than back in June, a few Bee Orchids clung on.

More interesting perhaps were some new discoveries for the site: Small Scabious, a plant I see very infrequently around here, and Pale St. John’s wort, a regional rarity. Despite being much more common locally, I’m not sure I have spotted Musk-mallow at Silverlink before either…

With so much in bloom, the bees were out in force. Among the commoner species, it was nice to see a female Patchwork Leafcutter Bee visiting the flowers of Viper’s-bugloss.

Wild Mignonette is an abundant plant at Silverlink and where it grows, you can bet that the striking Large Yellow-faced Bee won’t be far behind. A mignonette specialist, eleven or so were spotted around a particularly bountiful clump.

Other bees on the wing included Davies’ Collettes and Fork-tailed Flower Bee. While I didn’t stop to photograph them, butterflies too were out in abundance with Common Blue, Small Skipper, Meadow Brown and Ringlet the most numerous.

Owing to its series of small, shallow ponds, Silverlink tends to be a good place for Odonata. The only problem is that I can’t for the life of me identify most of the blighters…

On the wing at the weekend were Emperor and Southern Hawker dragonflies, the largest of the bunch, while smaller Four-spot Chasers were seen patrolling the pond margins. Smaller still, Common Blue and Blue-tailed Damselflies were numerous; though it was the striking Emerald Damselfly below which caught my attention.

Turning my attention down into the undergrowth, a small amount of sweep netting in search of ladybirds turned up the striking Blue Shieldbug shown below. Not a species I often encounter, these iridescent insects are always a pleasure to behold.

Slightly less showy was the superb variety of true bugs discovered while searching a nice area of rank grass and knapweed. Of course, many of these were hard to identify and I inevitably gave up. The three below, thankfully, were a little easier.

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