Friday, 12 June 2009

Friday 12th.June 2009

Even though the weather was not good , I decided to do the High Elms Country Park butterfly transect this morning . I was welcomed to the car park by half a dozen Rose Ringed Parakeets , seeing off a Little Owl , that made several attempts to get to the tree where a pair nested two years , but was thwarted on each occasion , and finally gave up . There is only about 50mtrs. between this tree and their nesting tree , so that is probably why I didn't see the Owls there last year . Whilst on the birds , those of note on the way round included Nuthatch , Blackcap , Grey Heron ( also being mobbed by the RRPs) , Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker , Mistle and Song Thrush , Chiffchaff , Coal Tit and on the dipping pond , Two adult Moorhens with their two youngsters from their first brood and six youngsters from their second .
Also at the pond were a male and female , she egg laying , Emperor Dragonfly , and I took four exuvia off the emergent vegetation .
Butterflies recorded were very few and far between , they were Meadow Brown (19) , Large Skipper - pictured (2) , Painted Lady (2) , Common Blue (11 , incl. 4 females ) , Dingy Skipper ( 1- very tatty) , and a single Green Hairstreak , that took a little while to be sure of , as very few green scales were left on the underwing . Day flying moths included Silver Y , Mother Shipton , Cinnabar and Burnet Companion (16) . There were also hundreds of little beige moths , I think they were Agriphila tristella , the ones that fly off and disappear as they sit , wings rolled up on a stalk of vegetation . The only other insect of interest sighted was a very large Hornet , that came up out of the grass . In the small glade , where the Silver Washed Fritillaries lay their eggs , and also home to a small colony of White Letter Hairstreaks , some of the leaves on the Wych Elm , food plant of the WLH , have been severely munched , lets hope it was their caterpillars that did the damage . Also in the glade , was this male Scorpion Fly , with his Scorpion type tail and strange proboscis . On my way back to the car , I detoured to check on the Violet Helleborine , in the place where I found it 2 years ago . There was no sign of it last year , but I was pleased to find the plant coming up this year . The plants are usually grey green coloured ,but this one is totally lacking in Chlorophyll , and the leaves are a luminous pinkish-violet , and the form is 'achlorophyllous' .
After lunch , I had a look at the farm lake . I gingerly looked over the vegetation and found the 2 adult Little Grebes , each feeding 2 youngsters , which are almost as big as the adults now . Walking around the lake , I was surprised to hear the 'laughing call' of the Little Grebe from the opposite side . With binoculars , I could make out another pair , and with 4 youngsters , I'd say just a little older than when I saw the first family group . Great news , lets hope they make it to adulthood . I mentioned in previous posts that the tadpoles had disappeared , as they do every year , and later every year the sides of the lake are covered with tiny frog/toadlets , well it's that time of year . The ground is alive with hundreds , probably thousands of these tiny amphibians . Black Tailed Skimmers are still emerging in good numbers and the earliest of them are already getting down to the reproduction business . Here it can be seen , how the blue male on the left will lose a band of blue around his abdomen if he mates with a few females , as she hold on with her legs around his abdomen . The same happens with the Broad Bodied Chasers . Also seen today was a newly emerged Common Darter , my first of the year . Once again , all new emergents are the same colour , then the males redden as they mature . The shiny wings of a newly emerged insect showing well on this shot . There were a few Common Blue and Blue Tailed Damselfies around and 4 male and one female , egg laying , Emperor Dragonflies on the wing . I had another go at 'shooting on the wing' , and was quite pleased with the results .
Male Emperor Dragonfly .

Male Black Tailed Skimmer . With no sign of any weather clearance , I made my way home .

1 comment:

Warren Baker said...

good instructive photo's today greenie, far too much for me to remember!

I'll get a pic of that orchid once it flowers - fragrant would be a first for me!