Friday, 29 May 2009

Friday 29th.May 2009

The farm lake was my first of four sites visited today . At 0830 the temperature was already 18C , despite a stiffish breeze . I was hoping to find more emergence , but the water level was much higher than on my last visit , which meant that water from the borehole had been pumping in for quite some time , and as this water comes from 230ft. down , it cools down the water temperature in the lake and delays emergence , which is linked to daylight hours and water temperature . Several Black Tailed Skimmers lifted off on my approach and other species recorded included Blue Tailed , Large Red , Common Blue and Azure Blue Damselfly , the last two were seen egg laying . Just 8 Painted Ladies passed through whilst I was there , but were probably still warming up . Other species recorded included a pristine male Brown Argus , Common Blue , a female Orange Tip (pictured) and Large White . As I left , heading for High Elms Country Park , you could tell it was going to be a hot one .
The full butterfly transect was the undertaking today . In the short time taken to get there from the farm lake , the Painted Ladies had warmed up and were starting to steam through , although , not in the numbers seen earlier in the week . By the end of the transect , 48 had been recorded .Apart from Common Blue (21) , other species were few and far between . Dingy Skipper is really living up to it's name now , perhaps 'Ragged' might be more appropriate . Speckled Wood (4) , Large White (2) , Small Copper (1-pictured) and Brimstone (1) made up the numbers .Day flying moths were in good numbers , with Burnet Companion (23) , Silver Y (3) and Mother Shipton - pictured (4) . Most of the birdsong on the way round was provided by Blackbird , Blackcap , Common Whitethroat and Chiffchaff , with the noise coming as usual from the Rose Ringed Parakeets .
The best Fly Orchid is now on it's 7th.flower , with three more to go ,
All over the Park , Common Spotted Orchids are in flower ,
The Man Orchids are fully out ,
And on the Conservation Field , I found the first Pyramidal Orchid flower spike of the year .The Bird's Nest Orchids are steady at 10 , and fully out ,
And the Greater Butterfly Orchid is in flower too .
Before heading home for lunch , I made a quick stop at West Kent Golf Course to see if there was any sign of the Small Blues there . Unfortunately , as I arrived where they are usually found , the sun went behind cloud , and this species really does need the sun to be on the wing . With the sun in , I was again joined by butterfly , this time a male Common Blue with a mis-formed front wing . It didn't seem to bother him , and when the sun started to show , he flew off without trouble . Most of the species seen at High Elms were recorded here , with the addition of Holly Blue and Peacock . Just before leaving , I disturbed what I thought was two Foxes . One definitely was , but the other was a Deer , a very small Deer , not much bigger than the Fox . I only got a glimpse as it made off for cover , but when it got there it 'coughed' back at me . I am not saying it was , but there is a possibility that it was a Muntjac , from the size and from the cough , as the Muntjac's other name is the Coughing Deer . Was it ? I shall never know for sure .
After lunch , I set off for Spring Park Pond . Immediately on arrival , it was obvious that several male Broad Bodied Chasers were holding territories around the pond , and aerial battles were continuous . In one corner , a female , taking no notice of what was happening above here , was diligently dipping the end of her abdomen into the water , each time , releasing a single round egg , that will sink to the bottom of the warm shallow water , to start the next generation . Whilst there , I managed another two year firsts , with my first Meadow Brown , feeding on Bramble flower around the edge of the pond . Not the best of shots , but it just wouldn't get into the position that I wanted it to . Then came the second , when a male Emperor Dragonfly , swooped across the water , much to the annoyance of the male Broad Bodied Chasers , who lifted off to engage him in battle . He flew backwards and forwards across the pond , and I thought , there is no chance of a picture . Eventually , he rested for a few seconds , and I got this shot . It was literally seconds , before the Broad Bodied Chaser males 'saw him off'. I carried on watching and , after quite a while , he came to rest in front of me , showing nicely the dark dorsal line along the abdomen that is helpful in this species identification . The only other species recorded were Azure and Large Red Damselfly . Other butterflies recorded around the pond were Painted Lady (50+) , Common Blue (1) , Orange Tip (1) , Speckled Wood (2) , Small White (2) and Large White (2) . Lastly , can anyone help out with this bad shot of a small moth , found on a walk yesterday near Ashford . I took 3 shots , but the AF obviously didn't want to know .


Anonymous said...

Hi Greenie. Your last pic is a Small Purple-barred.

ShySongbird said...

Hi Greenie, I should have looked at the comment before I started hunting! as Dean's answer is exactly what I came up with although I wasn't quite as positive, as some pictures I looked at look paler than yours but that could be because of the trouble you had with AF.

Warren Baker said...

what happens to the B.B.C. eggs if the pool dries up ? Do they survive for a while?

Phil and Mandy said...

Hi, that Brown Argus is a lovely specimen. Regards Phil

Greenie said...

Dean ,
Thanks very much for the ID . I do not have a moth book and could match it on the www.

ShySongbird ,
Thank you for your efforts as well .

Warren ,
The eggs will hatch in 2/5 weeks , dependant on weather etc. In the meantime , they are covered with a jelly substance like that on frogspawn that absorbs moisture , so hopefully will hatch OK .

Phil ,
Thanks for your comment .

Orchids and Nature said...

I found your blog down through what I call the family tree of bloggers.I stopped on your blog and here I am.You've got some wonderful pictures, but what struck me was the difference in the flowering season, down on your patch you're 4-6weeks in front us up here in the north and the plantlife is more diverse.