Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Wednesday 22nd.April 2009

A beautiful start to the day encouraged me to do my first of the year , full butterfly transect at High Elms Country Park . I started as usual at the Conservation Field and I thought it would be a struggle , as the grassland species , Meadow Brown , Blues and Ringlet , are the predominant ones , and they probably won't emerge for a couple of weeks yet . I arrived at 9.30 , and very little if anything was flying , so I concentrated on the scrub at the edges , in the warm sunshine . It wasn't long before I recorded the first species , a female Green Veined White , identified as a female by the double spots on each wing , the male just has single spot on each wing . A little further on , I found a female Orange Tip and a Peacock . Then everything went very quiet until I got towards Burnt Gorse , and recorded 3 Speckled Woods in their usual place . On arrival at Burnt Gorse , I quickly added Brimstone , Large White and Comma , together with another couple of Orange Tip males .At the bottom of the slope , I thought I caught sight of a Green Hairstreak , but I didn't see where it landed . Then I saw one land , but it was too quick for a photo . Had the opportunity gone ? Small numbers of all previously sighted species were recorded , and at the far end another Grizzled Skipper . Heading back towards the five bar gate , another flash of green , and this time I was ready for it . In true commando style , I crept forward and got my prize . A freshly emerged , pristine , probably male , Green Hairstreak , sorry about the shadow from a blade of grass . Once I photographed this one , I found another 6/10 more , difficult to be accurate as they were so mobile . Also recorded was a male Holly Blue , nectaring on a Wayfarer bush . So the transect total was 36 butterflies from 10 species .
Plants of interest on the way around , included Goldilocks Buttercup-Ranunculus auricomus , had to photograph it in front of a note book to show the detail , otherwise it would just be lost in the background greenery , and Yellow Archangel-Lamiastrum galeobdolon , a member of the Labiate family , those with square stalks , an indicator species of ancient woodland . Higher up , the Horse Chestnut tree are coming into flower . Birds recorded on the way round were ; Mistle and Song Thrush , Wren , Blackcap , Blackbird , Green and Gtreat Spotted Woodpecker , Goldfinch , Chaffinch , Blue , Coal and Great Tit , Jackdaw , Carrion Crow , Rose Ringed Parakeet , Stock Dove , Woodpigeon , Nuthatch , Robin , Chiffchaff , Magpie , Jay , Pheasant , Goldcrest , Mallard ( with young ) and Moorhen ( with young ) , 27 species in all . A quick lunch back home , then off to 'paradise' , the farm lake . It was obvious straight away , that the Toad spawn , posted a few days ago , has hatched out , and the edges of the lake are covered in tadpoles . Also in the shallows , the Bog Bean-Menyanthes trifoliate , has come into flower . Amongst the hundreds of Cowslips which grace the banks , I found one different from the rest , just like the Primroses at Fackenden Down . I recorded just 3 butterfly species on the site , Orange Tip , Large White and Speckled Wood . Birdwise , I added Rook , Coot ( still with 4 young ) , Skylark , Little Grebe , a pair building their floating nest , unusually out in the open ,
and 2 Swallows , who called in regularly , to skim a drink off the surface . On one pass , I aimed the camera , couldn't see what I was focusing on with the bright sunshine , and the result was
I headed off home , well happy with 32 bird species and 10 butterfly species .


Warren Baker said...

32 bird species and 10 butterfly! Thats some going greenie. I found some of that archangel today, didn't know what it was till i read your post.
PS That ''Buzzard shot'' is looking more harrier like, the more I look at it!

Kingsdowner said...

That's a good shot of the Bog-Bean, which is a stranger to us on the dry lands.
Nice one of the Greenstreak too.