Friday, 12 September 2008

Friday 12th.September 2008

Not a butterfly/dragonfly morning , overcast , drizzle in the air . I decide to do a perimiter walk of High Elms Country Park , and see what turns up . As I was not doing the butterfly transect , I decide to record all birds heard/seen . It proved to be very quiet for birds to begin with . but slowly things did improve . The most recorded species were naturally enough Robin , Blue Tit and Great Tit , so I didn't actually count these . Fifteen other species were recorded as follows : Mistle Thrush (1) , Nuthatch (5) , Wood Pigeon (3) , Jackdaw (2) ,Rose Ring Parakeet (8) , Green Woodpecker (3) , Wren (2) , Magpie (2) , Chaffinch (1) , Long Tailed Tit (3) , Carrion Crow (2) , Great Spotted Woodpecker (3) , Coal Tit (2) , Chiffchaff (1) and Mallard (2) .
In between recording the birds , I was on the look out for interesting fungi . The first to catch my eye was a slime mould , Fuligo septica-Flowers of Tan . A different kind of fungi , was this Ramaria stricta , looking like a section of coral . The last two are both bracket fungi . The first , Polyporus squamosus-Dryad Saddle or Scaly Polypore can be found as big as a dinner plate , the one on the left here is about the size of a bread plate , so has some growing to do , if it is not eaten or damaged . The second is a more leathery type , Polyporus badius , with it's chestnut colour showing that it is a mature specimen .
I have previously posted pictures of Spindle fruits in their green state , and also as they turned pink . This is the same fruits today , having ripened to a rich pink , and split open , revealing the orange seeds that will hopefully keep our hedgerows colourful for years to come .
Going back to the birds , I passed a tree where the Rose Ringed Parakeets nested this year , and already , four birds seemed to be arguing about who was going to be the next resident . Here two Parakeets can be seen outside one of many nestholes , probably Woodpecker holes , that adorn this tree . The squabbling was to say the least very noisy .
As I returned to the car , I passed a couple of bat boxes , put up not far from the dipping pond . I couldn't help but notice a very natural home directly above the boxes . I wonder which home the bats have chosen ? As I walked back to the car park , I saw a Honey Bee on the wing , and realised that this was only the second flying insect I had seen all morning , the first being a moth I disturbed on a gate .

After lunch , the skies brightened , and that elusive thing called the sun actually appeared . I headed off to Hayes Common . Getting out of the car was like being in a different country compared to this morning , with a temperature of about 20C . I actually started seeing butterflies when a Comma steamed past me and disappeared into the Heather . Also in the Heather , I found five Common Lizards , sunning themselves . A small butterfly flew by in one of the glades , and having chased it down , found this small female Common Blue , still in reasonable condition . In another glade , was this oblita form Speckled Wood , being darker with pale cream patches . It was nice to see a few butterflies , and when I was heading back to the car , in the 'Purple Hairstreak' glade , I found a Large White female , feeding on Red Clover . I took this shot , and almost immediately , she was set upon by a male . They flew up and up and finished up at the top of the Oak tree that has lots of Purple Hairstreak eggs on it . It was a distant shot , but I rushed over to get the pair together . As I got set up , they flew off conjoined , and spiralled ever upward . Across the glade and over even higher trees . I just stood and watched , and rued my luck . They went out of sight , behind the trees , then came back my side again . Still high and joined together , they made a couple of circuits of the glade , then slowly started descending . They came lower and lower , until eventually they landed on the Bracken , where the Purple Hairstreaks landed when they fell out of the Oak trees .
I slowly inched over , and without disturbing them got the pictures I had hoped for .

I left them doing what they needed to do , and I got in the car and drove home with a grin on my face .

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