Monday 25th July was the dullest, coolest, dampest day for ages when 11 of us gathered at Odney Club who had once again permitted us to walk the estate to see What was About. Whilst we knew insects might be difficult to find, we were soon finding lots of busy bees in the formal garden, accompanied by numerous Red Soldier Beetles, especially on the Umbel plants (usually seen mating, they are nicknamed ‘Bonking Beetles’!). Some delicate hoverflies of several species also entertained us in the flower tops whist tiny froglets scattered amongst the ground litter; obviously a good year for them. Butterflies were hard to track down but we had some nice encounters with Speckled Wood and Gatekeeper varieties, with several of us managing to get some good pics with mobile phones.
The streamside provided some lovely close-up views of the dramatic Banded Demoiselles, particularly the males which flurried together in little competitive groups, a lone female trying to keep out of their way! Despite much hopefulness, Water Voles eluded us, but it was comforting to know that they were known to be present from recent survey and trail camera footage.
One or two Plant Bugs were found, one most likely being Liocoris tripustulatus (photo Roger Havercroft). This is a huge family of dramatically-marked bugs which can be explored at https://www.britishbugs.org.uk/gallery.html
The birding scene was very quiet, but we had the opportunity of watching a mother Pied Wagtail gathering what bugs it could find in the lawns and, when it thought we were not watching, flying up to an ivy-hidden nest on the front of the main building. Perhaps next time we go, its offspring will be feeding for themselves on the self-same lawn!