Sunday, 26 June 2016

National Insect Week Event Shoreham Beach

An Insect talk and walk led by myself took place on Sunday 26th June at the Harbour Club and on Shoreham Beach Local Nature Reserve as part of celebrations taking place nationwide for National Insect Week which runs from 20-26 June 2016.
This free event was part of the programme of educational events sponsored by the Heritage Lottery Grant Awards for All.
The PowerPoint presentation at the Harbour Club discussed the rare vegetated shingle habitat and its special adaptations before I spoke about some of the insects that can be found on the shingle plants and also the importance of pollinators to the shingle plants.
I explained how vegetated shingle is only a partial habitat for insects as the shingle plants die back and lay dormant for several months of the year.

I discussed how and why the gardens adjacent to the nature reserve are important to the invertebrates (especially outside the flowering period of the shingle plants and during bad weather) and also as nesting and hibernation sites for bees.
The gardens on Shoreham Beach are an important extension to the nature reserve habitats. The talk concluded with ways we can all help these valuable insects.
I also addressed invasive species and explained how invasive plants such as red valerian and silver ragwort can entice pollinators to this ‘easy’ nectar source causing them to ignore the smaller shingle plants that area much smaller source of nectar with a risk that they may die out on the beach.

Following the talk everyone meet by the Shoreham Fort for an exploration of the shingle plants for insects.
Several species of bee where on the wing including red tailed bumble bee, buff/white tailed bumble bee, common carder bee, honey bee and two solitary bee species.
Other insects included several garden tiger moth caterpillars, butterfly (small white) several small moths (we disturbed but did not settle in view) 7 spot lady birds, hoverflies,
iridescent thick knee flower beetles, juvenile grasshoppers, a small blue damselfly (probably from a garden pond) and a yellow field ant mound in the grass.
Not an insect, but another surprise find, was a tiny common frog (from this year’s hatching) and a small toad, probably last year’s hatching both of which also probably case from adjacent gardens.