Saturday, 2 May 2009

Saturday 2nd.May 2009

Just two visits today . The first , up on the Common , to see what was happening . Not a lot was the answer . The usual birds were calling , but when I got to the Orchid Glade , a flash of green shot off in front of me and landed on a Buttercup , my first record of Green Hairstreak on this part of the Common . In the softer morning sun , the colour was not bleached out , as it can be later in the day in stronger sunshine . As I took several shots of it , a Blackcap was in full flow on the edge of the glade . Down on the heathland area , it was good at last to see evidence of the Brimstone eggs having hatched , with holes in the adjacent Buckthorn leaves . So the Long Tailed Tits and Chiffchaffs didn't get them all , and as the caterpillars tend to feed at night , hopefully they will make it .
I then set off to do the full Butterfly Transect at High Elms Country Park . Perfect butterfly weather , but as we are in that 'in between' time , when the overwintering species are tailing off and the other species just starting to emerge , it was a quiet start . Still not much colour amongst
the grass , with the exception of Cowslips , but Common Vetch is starting to push through here and there . Because I was doing the full transect , I was concentrating on the grassland areas , but even when I got close to scrubby areas , just the odd insect was recorded . The first of two day flying moths flew up in front of me on the Conservation Field , this one being a Burnet Companion , so called because it is usually found in the same habitat as Burnet moths . Also on this field , I recorded Grizzled Skipper , and as this is about half a mile from Burnt Gorse , where I recorded them recently , there must be another colony of this tiny butterfly around here , albeit small . Crossing the road , I headed up towards Burnt Gorse , and on the way , came across a male and female Orange Tip , and he only had one thing on his mind . He tried and tried again to mate with her , but she was not having it , lifting the end of her abdomen every time he came near her . Eventually , much to my annoyance , he gave up . and she settled to feed on Herb
Robert . Along the same track I recorded Speckled Wood and this male Green Veined White ,
nectaring on Dandelion . Very close by I found an insect , much photographed last year , this being the first time I have seen one this year . It is the male Scorpion Fly , identified as a male by the orangy Scorpion type tail , which the female does not have . By the time I reached Burnt Gorse , it was really warm , but the Green Hairstreak males were still duelling . One did settle for a short time to allow a shot , perched on a Wayfarer leaf , their preffered perch .
Amongst the grass , Dingy Skippers have increased to an estimated dozen , but being so active , impossible to be sure , and 3 Grizzled Skippers were also recorded . The only new species
recorded today was a very freshly emerged Small Copper . On my way to the Orchid Bank , a second moth was found . This one I believe is a Green Carpet . Had it not taken flight in front of me and seen it land , I would never have spotted it in the vegetation . On the Orchid Bank , I recorded another 2 Green Hairstreaks and 2 more Dingy Skippers amongst other species . Before leaving , I went to see if any more flowers had come out on the two Fly Orchids . I had trouble finding the plants , as some 'Richard Cranium' had stepped on them , by the looks of it , to look at a couple of Twayblades that were growing behind . I have put a couple of splints to try and keep the two plants upright , and all I can do now is to hope for the best that no one else does the same thing . The second plant has produced it's first flower , but whether they will survive , we'll have to wait and see . This is what the trampler seemed to be looking at behind the Fly Orchid .
Exactly 50 butterflies were recorded , covering 11 species , and whilst walking around I saw/heard 19 species of birds , nothing to write home about , but they filled in some of the quieter moments .


John Young said...

Hi Fred, nice post. What is the orchid in your last photo?

Anonymous said...

Fascinating species you find on your walks. The Green Carpet moth is an interesting one.

Ken Browne. said...

Hi Greenie.
Another nice variety of photo's. I like the male Scorpion Fly photo the best I think.

Greenie said...

John ,
It was one of a pair of Common Twayblades , this one with just the first flower open on the spike .
Should have included the leaves in the shot , but tried to get close in on the flower .

Anonymous said...

An excellent post there, Greenie. I can vouch for the Green Carpet. A species i don`t see enough of.

Warren Baker said...

11 species of butterfly! I could spend all summer on my patch.....oh I do! I still wouldn't find that many. That carpet thingy is a great looking moth.