The past few days have had warm sunny autumnal afternoons. After school I have been taking my camera out to see what creatures are taking advantage of this weather.
The Roe deers are spending time sitting in the sun along the hedge, although they all got up when a helicopter came overhead. A Kestrel made the most of the newly harvested field to search for small mammals. Flocks of Pigeons and Crows hop around on the ground, picking at maize that the harvesting had left behind, as we approach they struggle to fly off after eating so much.
In amongst all the other insects I spotted an Ivy bee on a large patch of Ivy. The Ivy Bee, Colletes hederae, is Britain’s only true autumn bee. The males emerge around the end of August and the females in the middle of September. October is the best time to see them and as their name suggests the place to look is on Ivy blossom.
The Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society are collecting data on Ivy bees so I have submitted my sighting at www.bwars.com
Red Admirals (Vanessa atalanta) are normally found in groups feeding on nectar in the autumn. I counted 11 Red Admirals. It was interesting to watch the hornets bothering the butterflies. I’m not sure whether a hornet would eat a Red Admiral, but they quickly got out of the way.
One insect the Hornet did manage to catch and eat was a wasp. I captured this on film.
The Hornet, Vespa crabro, is the biggest of the social wasps. They are brown and yellow instead of the black and yellow of a common wasp. These are European hornets and not the Asian giant hornets that have been in the newspaper recently. European hornets are gentle (except to the wasp in the film) and will only sting if threatened. They mainly live in woodlands, building a large paper nest in hollow trees.