Friday, 22 May 2009

Friday 22nd.May 2009

Had a phone call from the lady of the house at the farm lake , that having seen a pair of Mandarin ducks in what could only be called 'a compromising position' a while back , has now got a female and 7 or 8 youngsters on the lake . I called in this morning and got a fleeting sight of her and her family disappearing into a reedbed , in the diagonally opposite corner from where I was standing . Hopefully , in the near future I will be able to photograph the family . Of interest around the lake , Salad Burnet is now in full flower , Cut-leaved Cranesbill is out too ,
and the first Common Poppy of the year has almost gone over . Leaving the lake , I headed for High Elms Country Park , to do my butterfly transect . Still a bit breezy , but at least the sun was out when I arrived . The common species were the first recorded , followed by a very pristine Brimstone , that would probably be one of the first hatched this year . These butterflies will , with luck , live all year , hibernate over the Winter and mate next Spring , one of the longest living species . Another species that hibernates as adults was recorded next , the Comma . Hard to say with this one , could be the last of the last brood or first of the new . No doubt about the next species , the first female Common Blue recorded on site this year . One of the most recorded insects on the Conservation Field was the day flying moth , Burnet Companion . It was a good job I found this plant before midday , as it's common name 'Jack-go-to-bed-at-Noon' suggests , it is only fully open on sunny mornings . It can look like many other Hawksbeard/Hawkbit species , but the green sepal-like bracts are usually longer than the yellow florets . Up on Burnt Gorse , the 2 Fly Orchids are now 3 , and seem to be doing better with the recent rain . The Dingy and Grizzled Skippers seem to be coming to an end , as only 2 of the former were recorded here , and those 2 were very faded . These will be replaced by Large , Small and Essex Skippers in due course . Far from faded was a pristine female Large White , which seems to take the upper hand in the breeding stakes , by cruising around , looking for males , no territories here . Her size and double spots being the identifying features . Two Green Hairstreaks were recorded here , one a very damaged , from aerial combat probably , and the other , this female , still in good condition , and still egg laying , on her preferred Bird's Foot Trefoil . On the way to the Orchid Bank , I stopped at the Bird's Nest Orchids , of which there are now 10 , about the average , and some are almost fully open . Nothing to write home about colour-wise , but , always nice to see . Further up towards the Orchid Bank , most of the 100+ White Helleborines are now in flower , but , being in woodland habitat , do not show up well . On the Orchid Bank , the Greater Butterfly Orchid has started to flower , and is in fact smaller than the Lesser Butterfly Orchid that I saw for the first time last Monday . Looking back on the winds of the recent days , one thing it did do , was to get rid of a lot of the St.Mark's Flies , only for them to replaced by the Garden Chaffers posted yesterday , and the Snipe Fly-Rhagio mystaceus , which was found in great numbers , especially in stands of Nettles .
The full butterfly count was , Green Veined White (4) , Speckled Wood (4) , Large White (3) , Common Blue (12) , Orange Tip (3) , Painted Lady (1-fly by) , Comma (1) , Brimstone (2) , Dingy Skipper (4) , Green Hairstreak (2) , Grizzled Skipper (1) and Peacock (3) .
Of other interest , Burnet Companion (9) , Mother Shipton (1) , Broad Bodied Chaser (1) and Hornet (1) .
Background birdsong along the way was great , the majority by Blackcap , Backbird , Great Tit , Common Whitethroat and Wren .


Anonymous said...

Great shot of the Salad Burnet - those flowers are really tiny. What an amazing variety of species you find.

Ken Browne. said...

Hi Greenie.
Not a bad day you had. I hope you manage to get a shot of the young Manderin's.
Have a good bank holiday Fred.

Ken Browne. said...

I can't spell Mandarin Fred, sorry about that.