Monday, 25 August 2008

Monday 25th.August 2008

The early morning sunshine tempted me out , but this was Bank Holiday Monday , and it didn't last .
I headed for Spring Park Pond , one of my Small Red Eyed Damselfly sites from last year , and Wasp Spiders from the year before . The big change was that the meadow had been cut and the cuttings taken away . There goes most of the Skipper and Common Blue eggs for next year . Just one small area in the middle and a small apron round the outside left uncut . It seems like just a couple of weeks ago , I stood in the middle , grass up to waist height and surrounded by literally hundreds of Swifts , hawking for insects , just above vegetation level , a magnificent sight . Today , not a sign of a Swift , and a bareness over the meadow .
I made my way to the pond , and the resident adult Moorhens announced my arrival to their youngsters with the click of the gate . The three youngsters are as big as their parents now , and are sporting their white flashes on their rears . Not a single dragon/damselfly was seen at the pond , and as I left it , the breeze was stiffening and bringing in the cloud cover . I had a look for Wasp Spiders , but didn't find any , I can only think that they did not breed two years ago , and as the adult dies over the Winter , there were none to go into the next year .
On one of the Oak trees by the pond , were these Marble Galls , caused by larvae of the tiny gall wasp Andricus kollari , sounds like he should be playing for Chelsea .
On the adjacent Bramble patch , insects were being hunted by this Hornet . As I watched , it was not finding much to eat , but it was interesting watching it's strategy , flying quickly , banging in to vegetation , hoping that something would be dislodged . Every now and then , it did find something , and stopped briefly to dispatch it . As I followed it along the Bramble patch , another one joined it .
By now the breeze had become a wind , and in the apron of long grass around the edge of the meadow , I found this tiny male Common Blue , hanging on for dear life , as the grass reached 45% , and then returned to vertical . I must admit , I had to steady the grass out of view , to get the shot . I found two more Common Blues , one Speckled Wood and four Meadow Browns .
On the edge of the woodland , I found this flower , which I found a couple of weeks ago up on the Greensand Ridge . I couldn't place it then , but have done a bit of investigating . It has the look of a Ragwort , but with the leaf shown above , the only one that fitted was Alpine Ragwort . When I 'Googled' the latin name for Alpine Ragwort , I found reference to a Wood Ragwort with a similar looking leaf , which is not mentioned in my Fitter/Blamey reference book . I was wondering if anyone else has come across it ?
Finally another moth , which I don't think is a day flyer , but was having difficuly doing anything in the wind , which was now producing drizzle , so I made my way home .


Warren Baker said...

Whats the best time to cut a hay meadow? has the one you visited been done to early?

John Young said...

Hi Fred, just for reference the moth is a member of the pyralid (micro moths) group and called mother of pearl.

Greenie said...

Thank you for moth ID . I must admit I was taken aback with it , but looking at Steve's last posting , given the colour change , the pattern is the same .
Warren ,
Not so much timing , as cutting everything each year . I have asked before for strips to be left uncut at cutting time , but it hasn't happened .

Steve said...

Yep....a Mother of Pearl....lots about at the moment. Nice post Fred.

Warren Baker said...

Keep on at them.!!!!!