On spotting an aquatic fly with long legs, golden/green metallic coloured body and white-tipped wings at Brogdale’s recently completed wildlife pond – research quickly helped me identify it was a Semaphore Fly Poecilobothrus nobilitatus. The pond is host to several of these flies, although sadly not YET the damselflies I had hoped for.
The male Semaphore Fly engages in a courtship dance, and flight;,when the conspicuous whirring, white tipped wings are designed to attract the female. This insect is wide ranging in mainland Europe at various water bodies, and although common in southern England, it has only recently penetrated northwards. At approximately seven millimetres, a macro lens is required to see the insect preying on microscopic larvae on the water`s surface. With patience, a kaleidoscope of colour is possible to trace, as sunlight reflects the pond water on their bodies. It is a typical mid-summers addition to pond-life.
It continues to be an excellent year for the Marbled White butterfly, with Brogdale no exception in its undisturbed grasslands. Gatekeeper butterflies have recently emerged, and together with Peacocks, Red Admirals and Meadow Browns, plus Speckled Woods lingering in the sheltered areas, there are plenty of butterflies to see on warm days around the nectar rich plant-life in the wildlife garden. A shy year to date, however, for the migrant Painted Lady.
Green Woodpeckers have again fledged young at Brogdale this year, using an exceptional site just three feet above ground level, in a well- pruned thirty year old plum tree!