Monday, 1 September 2008

Monday 1st.September 2008

September already , it only seems like a couple of weeks ago , waiting for the butterflies and dragonflies to emerge , now , they are all but finished .
The Bird Survey at Down House , the home of Charles Darwin , was the first job . The morning was fresh than of late , and straight away , it was noticeable how little there was on the wing . I have been stuck on 49 on the site list for the best part of two years now , and today didn't move me off it . I only recorded 16 species , and if it hadn't been for the cricket field , it would have been much lower . Nothing exciting , but Green and Gt.Spotted Woodpecker and a Kestrel taking grasshoppers in the large meadow , made a change from corvids and pigeons . Unusually , no sign or sound of the Rose Ringed Parakeets that I know nested on site this year again . I didn't record Sparrow Hawk , even though I found the evidence of a kill , down at fine leg at the pavillion end of the cricket field .
The butterflies were almost as bad with just 7 species recorded , but one of them was another
Painted Lady , tucked well down in the grass . This is my fourth this year , all at different sites .

Whenever I see them , I think how sad it is that such a beautiful , migratory butterfly , cannot stand our winter , and that the entire population in the country dies out each year , and has to depend on fresh colonists from Europe and Africa each year , even though they do breed here during June/July . Their undoing seems to be the need to migrate North all the time , and obviously meeting colder , wetter winters . This year's migration has not been a good one , but some years they migrate here in their millions . The most numerous species recorded today , was surprisingly the Speckled Wood , having found five , sunning themselves on an Elder , in a sunny corner of the cricket field . The full count was - Meadow Brown (4) , Large White (3) , Small White (4- photo below) , Painted Lady (1) , Speckled Wood (8) , Green Veined White (3) and Common Blue (1) . Not a butterfly , but a butterfly to be , I found this Comma caterpillar on the edge of one of the meadows .

The grounds of Down House are great for fungi , especially Waxcaps , with some really rare ones , that hopefully will be out on my next visit . Today , amongst the grass on one of the lawns was Clavaria vermicularis - White Spindles . Not far away was a member of the Waxcap family ,

Hygrocybe ceracia . Growing in good numbers under one of the Scots Pines , was a member of the Milk-cap family , Lactarius rufus - Rufous Milk-cap . Quite a number of them had been knocked over , probably by some animal foraging . I like fungi that are what they look like , instead of having to go to the books . This is an example , Paxillus involutus - Brown Roll-rim .

A very common fungi the books say , but also 'poisonous-possibly deadly' .

On the way home , I called again at Keston Ponds in vain for Small Red Eyed Damselfy . In the breezy conditions , I found Common Darter , Red Eyed Damselfy ,

Blue Tailed Damselfly and ,
Common Blue Damselfly .

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