30 Days Wild: Lots of life at Lyndon

I set off early for work this morning for 30 Days Wild day 12 – I didn’t have a plan for an act of pre-work wildness, but thought I was bound to be inspired as soon as I got to Lyndon. Lyndon Visitor Centre is most well-known for being the place to see Rutland’s breeding ospreys, but it has plenty more wildlife to offer on top of these brilliant birds.

As it turned out, I didn’t even get onto the reserve before nature stopped me in my tracks! The wildflowers just outside the centre are in full bloom, and despite it being a cool morning they were buzzing with different insect life.

The first flower I noticed was hedge woundwort, right on the edge of the carpark. This plant has beautiful deep purple flowers, but a slightly pungent smell. The insects didn’t seem to mind though, and I noticed a Woundwort shieldbug on one of the leaves, warming up in the morning sun. These shieldbugs lay their eggs on hedgewoundwort and white dead nettle, and their larvae eat the plants. Maybe soon this plant will be crawling with Woundwort shieldbug young.

Hedge woundwort

Hedge Woundwort – Holly Hucknall

Woundwort Shieldbug - Holly Hucknall

Woundwort Shieldbug – Holly Hucknall

Just outside the centre there is a wonderful pond, full of life. There are a number of beautiful Yellow Flag Iris growing just to the side of the pond and this morning they were buzzing with Buff-tailed bumblebees. Behind them on the bank, hoverflies landed on hogweed. On one hogweed plant, I noticed a really striking hoverfly – Leucozona lucorum. This insect has a white band across its upper abdomen, and black wing patches that align with the black band across its lower abdomen – quite exotic looking compared to many of our hoverfly species.

Bee on yellow flag iris

leucozona lucorum - Holly Hucknall

leucozona lucorum – Holly Hucknall

I have spent the rest of the day observing and talking about our wonderful ospreys, but this morning certainly reminded me to look out for our 6-legged winged creatures more often too!