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BLACKFISHRUNNING OFF THE HEAD SUFFOLK COAST

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HYMENOPTERA RECORDERS’ REPORT 2010 2010 will go down as a rather frustrating year, with wet, cool and unpredictable weather spoiling the normally busy months of July and August. The year started promisingly with a sighting of the mining bee Andrena clarkella from the small nature reserve in Capel St Mary, this being only the fifth modern record for this species. In reality, it is likely to be much more common than this, but it is a “worm” for the early bird, being active at willow catkins between March and April when weather conditions do not tempt out many entomologists. On 2 July a female Andrena humilis was taken from the cliffs at Covehithe. This Nationally Scarce (Nb) bee is reasonably well distributed from south-east England northwards through Yorkshire to the Lake District, but with very few records from Norfolk and Suffolk. This may, again, be due to the relative lack of recording effort. It is present across the county, however, with the 13 records to date coming from Breckland, around Ipswich and the northern coastal zone. A visit to Holywells Park in Ipswich on 29 July yielded an observation of the cuckoo bumblebee Bombus rupestris, this being only the third modern record for this Nationally Scarce (Nb) species. Having suffered a considerable decline after the Second World War, this bumblebee is said to be staging something of a recovery nationally, but records in both Essex and Suffolk remain few and far between. A later visit to the park saw the fifth modern record for the digger wasp Ectemnius sexcinctus. Park volunteer Rob Garrod has provided some very important photographic records of species over the last couple of years, the most noteworthy being a new locality for the extremely rare mining bee Lasioglossum sexnotatum. This nationally Endangered (RDB1) species appears to have its UK stronghold in south-east Suffolk and has been recorded in recent years from the nearby Ipswich Golf Club and Martlesham Heath. Visits later in the summer to try and view this species were unsuccessful, but it is quite possible that Holywells Park is helping to sustain a small population of this bee, highlighting the role that suburbia can play in insect conservation. Work towards a study of the Saltmarsh Mining Bee Colletes halophilus throughout East Anglia has resulted in a number of new localities for this bee being discovered, from the Orwell and Deben estuaries. It is becoming apparent that the estuaries of south-east Suffolk are currently an important stronghold for this species nationally, but it is dependent on Sea Aster Aster tripolium for forage and saltmarshes here are suffering from increased erosion, fragmentation and isolation, placing the bee under threat. It is thought that C. halophilus is a relatively new species and it is endemic to the southern North Sea and English Channel. In volume 45 of the Transactions, the bee Heriades truncorum was announced as a new Suffolk species. This year, a second population has come to light after a number of females were found on 19 July, foraging on Ragwort Senecio sp. flowers at “The Fuzz” adjacent to Hadleigh Railway Walk on the eastern edge of the town. The Fuzz comprises hummocky ground following

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 46 (2010)


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Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 46

old sand and gravel workings and the areas of sparsely vegetated ground have yielded a number of interesting species over the last few years. I would like to thank the several members who have provided me with records via digital photographs over the year. Whilst compiling this report, Brian Fountain sent me a picture of the cuckoo bumblebee Bombus rupestris, taken at Priestley Wood. I have only a handful of records for this Nationally Scarce species, so it just goes to show what any casual observer can achieve if they are diligent enough to make a few notes or take a photograph. I would like to thank in particular Heather Paxman, who has provided me with a wealth of bumblebee records over the last few years, gleaned during her garden visits. Adrian Knowles Jessups Cottage, London Road, Capel St Mary, IP92JJ

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 46 (2010)

HYMENOPTERA RECORDERS’ REPORT 2010  

Adrian Knowles

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