Thursday, 28 August 2008

Thursday 28th.August 2008

After doing a couple of domestic chores , I was out the door like a bat out of hell , even though there no sign of the sun , 18C was showing on the thermometer , and I was heading for Fackenden Down . First thing noticed was cattle in one of the fields , with a notice ' Bull in field ' at the entrance . That could make it an interesting visit I thought . It was obvious straight away that butterfly numbers were well down , but with the tins/felts to check for reptiles as well , I set off . The fourth set of refugia produced the first Adder , a female . All last year's young will have to be referred to as now , as this year's juveniles should be seen between now and hibernation time . As I have said before , it is not always reptiles under the refugia . This time it was a Devil's Coach-horse , an insect that feeds after dark , and therefor uses the refugia during the day to shelter . Slow worms were the order of the day today , with 35 being found , sometimes with their own , sometimes with much larger homemates . These three were under a felt with two Grass Snakes . The smaller of the two Grass Snakes can be seen exiting stage left at speed , the larger one , and it was large , stayed for a couple of seconds , then shot off as well . I've seen it several times this Summer around the same area . One adult male (pictured above) was found and two more were found on the Bank .
Butterflies were mainly of the tatty variety , and the same went for Six Spot Burnet moths . The butterfly list was reasonable with 10 species - Meadow Brown (85) , Gatekeeper (9) , Small White (5) , Chalkhill Blue (22) pictured below , Green Veined White (2) , Brown Argos (10) , Common Blue (10) , Speckled Wood (4) , Large White (1) and Small Heath (1) , pictured below .
Birds seen/heard included Whitethroat , Green Woodpecker , Jay , Magpie , large flock of Wood Pigeons and about half a dozen Robins , duelling with their post moult subdued song .
On returning to the car , I couldn't resist this Common Toadflax growing on the roadside .

My second stop was White Hill , not bouncing so much this time without the sunshine . Chalkhill Blues were by far the largest species by number , and a good male/female ratio . Still very difficult to count even with the cooler conditions so have had to estimate again . In total , 6 species were recorded - Small White (5) , Chalkhill Blue ( est.100/150 ) , Meadow Brown (7) , Common Blue (13) , Speckled Wood (1) and Large White (4) .

On my way home , travelling through Shoreham village (Kent) ,I found myself following three , what I would say were 'classic' tractors . The street through the village is narrow , with very little chance to overtake . Eventually , I did manage to , and a little further down the road , pulled over , grabbed the camera , and got shots of each one , not very good , as they were closing on me quite quickly . They might well bring back some memories to some .

I think you'll agree , somewhat different to what we see in the fields today .

I did call in at High Elms on the way home , but I will write that up tomorrow as the car is in for MoT and service , and I won't be out and about .

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