Monday, 18 August 2008

Monday 18th.August 2008

In between the early morning rain and the afternoon showers , I managed a couple of hours at High Elms . The main object was to check out again the site where I found a single White Letter Hairstreak a while back on the edge of the Conservation Field . By the time I got to the site , the wind had increased and although the sun was out , very few butterflies were on the wing . I had a good look , but there was no sign of any White Letter Hairstreaks . As a consolation , a couple of metres away , I found this pristine female Holly Blue , nectaring on Marjoram . Normally , she would feed with her wings closed , but she must have been trying to get every last bit of warmth , whilst the sun was showing .
Unsuccessful here , I made my way to the Orchid Bank to check the other WLHs . On the way I passed the Spindle fruits that I posted a few weeks ago when they were all green . Today , they are beginning to ripen , showing the hint of pink that will become vivid before the orange seeds split the seed cases and start a new generation . On the pathsides , the fungi are starting their show . Here , Collybia butryacea-Buttercap , quite a common one . A more vivid one is Marasmius rotula , showing up well against the leaf litter . A not so common one , looking like something just arrived from outer space is Geastrum triplex-Earthstar . This one was about 5cm. across , but they can be found up to twice that size . The 'star' bit coming from the base which splits star shaped and raises the spore sack above it . If the spore sack gets knocked or even if rain drops land on it , the spores disperse out from the top like a puffer .
On the Orchid Bank , the wind was really strong . The Hemp Agrimony was almost horizontal at times , and the was no sign of any WLH , I don't blame them . I have recorded them here for nearly a month now , albeit in small numbers , but the important thing is that they are still here after last year's terrible Summer .
I only saw two Silver Washed Fritillaries today , both females , one rather tatty in a Beech tree , and this one , still smart , albeit with it's colour really faded . Not surprising really , as I recorded the first SWF this year on 3rd.July , fully 6 weeks ago . Also , on some Silver Birch scrub , I found this Ladybird larvae , about 1cm. long , but I don't know what species it is . Down in the shady corner , the Broad-leaved Helleborine is just about finished , but hopefully carrying plenty of seed to produce many more plants next year . The numbers this year were well down on last . A quick walk on Burnt Gorse , with the threat of imminent rain , produced a few Common Blue , 2 Brown Argus , 1 Small Skipper , 20+ Meadow Browns and a single rather dapper Small Copper .
I made it back to the car , just , before a very heavy downpour , but drove out of it on my way home . There , the Goldfinch kids had obviously told their parents about the 'easy pickings' on the feeders , and they brought their mate the Greenfinch .


Warren Baker said...

Yet more interesting butterfly pics greenie. You did well to get the Holly Blue to open its wings!
PS Seed feeder needs some seed in it!!

Steve said...

Very good to see the Holly Blue with its wings open. Nice one.