A group of CAN members met on 6th June for a Mini-BioBlitz and general day out at Anderton Nature Reserve.  The weather was bright and sunny.  On arriving at the car park we were greeted with a notice on the P&D meter that it was “out of order, and apologies for any inconvenience”!  Free parking can hardly be described as an inconvenience so we took this as a good omen.  After meeting up (girls late as usual!) we wandered into the reserve and swept, beat and poked our way round.

Summer seems late this year, so we didn’t catch the haul of specimens that normally turn up when sweeping summer grassland. Soldier beetles were beginning to appear, and Harlequin ladybirds were abundant – much more so than 7-spot which seemed to be prevalent in 2014.  Alder leaf beetles (adults, few larvae) were everywhere and the alders were showing considerable damage.  Most Hemiptera were in the nymph stage, which can be difficult to identify although Leptopterna dolabrata was common, as was Ischnodema sabuleti.

Alder Leaf Beetles making more Alder Leaf Beetles

Alder Leaf Beetles making more Alder Leaf Beetles

We returned to the car park for lunch (the boat lift is also out of order but the visitor centre still has excellent cake thankfully) before setting out again. A very nice Cardinal beetle (Pyrochroa serraticornis) was spotted also immediately, and poking in a sandy bank yielded a fine male Bledius which may turn out to be tricornis, one of the rarer species.

Anderton Reserve covers a pretty big area and we only really scratched the surface. Species lists are still coming in (I have to confess I haven’t worked through my specimens yet!) but we should easily reach 200 species.


Clive Washington