Having being stuck on the M25 for some time last night returning from the family party because of an accident two junctions ahead , I didn't fancy travelling far today , especially with the wind forecast . So , this morning I had a walk over the Common . That wind was really blowing , but out of it , in sheltered corners , it was very warm . It was in these corners where butterflies were found . Not for them being blown about , when they could congregate in the sheltered corners , and fight each other . That was what four Green Hairstreaks were doing in Orchid Glade , taking it in turns to scrap in twos and threes . Eventually , exhausted , they would settle on the lower branches of an Oak , to get their breath back . Whilst photographing the one above , a flash of orange had me chasing down a freshly emerged Small Copper , which came to rest on the path enabling a picture . On the heathland area , a lichen , commonly known as Devil's Matches- Cladonia floerkeana , has come into flower , showing perfectly how it gets it's common name . A quick look on the Buckthorn bushes , confirmed that the Long Tailed Tits and Chiffchaffs have not found all the Brimstone butterfly eggs , and I managed to find four caterpillars , much smaller than the one at White Hill the other day , but they will catch up in size very quickly . Although I only found the four caterpillars , many of the other leaves had been munched , showing that we should enjoy more adult butterflies in due course . Other butterflies recorded were , Peacock (1) and Speckled Wood (3) .
After returning home for lunch , I set off to do the butterfly transect at High Elms Country Park . Being more open , the area around the golf course , was feeling the strength of the strong winds , and , consequently , not a lot was seen . The odd Dingy Skipper , now really living up to it's name , after many aerial battles looking decidedly ragged around the edges , were recorded . Grizzled Skipper was also recorded on the Conservation Field and good views of the day flying moth Burnet Companion were seen . In flight , this moth looks almost entirely orange , and when one was feeding on Bird's Foot Trefoil , upside down , the underwing , almost entirely orange , shows how the flash of orange occurs , as the topwing is mainly brown . On the way up to Burnt Gorse , the odd Large , Small and Green Veined Whites were recorded along with three Orange Tips and several Speckled Woods . On Burnt Gorse , Dingy and Grizzled Skippers were recorded along with Brimstone , Holly Blue and Green Hairstreak .Then , another year first with a male Brown Argus , looking as if he had just come out of a box . Identified as a male by the blue hue on the abdomen , the female not showing this . Once again , I was on 11 species on the transect , but I had not recorded Peacock or Comma today . Another flash of red , blown on by the wind , had me chasing again to see what it was . It took off and landed three more times before I managed to get a shot . It was sitting on a leaf of Rose Bay Willowherb , and was being blown all over the place . All I could do was to wait , hoping for a lull in the wind , to get a better look at it . It looked like a Leafhopper , but I have never seen one with this red/black colouration . I took a second shot , estimated it at about 0.5cm. , and decided to leave ID till I got home . I Googled 'Leafhopper-images' , but didn't turn up any likeness until about page 10 , when a similar picture appeared . It turns out that it is in fact a Red and Black Froghopper .
From Burnt Gorse , I headed on to the Orchid Bank , to see if any flowers had opened on the Butterfly Orchid . At this point , I must apologise for the wrong ID of the Butterfly Orchid flower spike , because when I looked at it today , there were stripes on the flower covers , which meant that it was a large specimen of a Man Orchid . Elsewhere on the Bank , I found other specimens that had already opened , showing how this Orchid gets it's name , the flower covers forming the Man's hat . Red faced , I set about my penance , to find a Butterfly Orchid . It took a good while , but eventually I found one , not yet in flower , but it won't be long . Several more Fly Orchids were found , and large numbers of Common Twayblades are showing , including this trio . As I left the Orchid Bank , I found a member of the Daphne family , Spurge Laurel-D.laureola . Apparently this used to be a plant sold in garden centres , but it's berries , bark and sap contain toxic compounds , dangerous to pets and children . Grizzled and Dingy Skipper and Peacock , which took the species total to 12 , were recorded , along with the day flying moths , Burnet Companion and Mother Shipton .
Getting back to the car , I decided to have a look at the dipping pond before heading home , but I didn't have the heart to wake these two up , asleep on the rail of the dipping platform .
Finally , a single flower that doesn't grow on grass , but what is it ?