This 'punky' looking specimen , is that of a moth called The Vapourer . I think this one had emerged recently , given it's size and luck of colour on the four groups of hairs on it's back , which when mature , are vibrant yellow . Just before leaving , I came across this male Pheasant , which seems to have had it's own 'run in with nature' .
Started the day with the Down House bird survey . With a cool breeze blowing and overcast , it wasn't the best conditions . Around the grounds , good numbers of youngsters were found , the most numerous being Starlings , with two noisy gangs charging about . Juvenile Great and Coal Tits were also recorded . Strangely I did not record any Simmer visitors until the last species , when I had four House Martins hawking over the gardens , the first I've seen this year . In all , 24 species were recorded , nothing really outstanding , but a pair of Green Woodpeckers I found looked as if they were in nesting mode .
In the walled garden I found a flower that used to adorn every wheat field , Corncockle . Nowdays , sprays ensure that we do not get to see this flower , along with Cornflower and Corn Marigold . Also found growing in the kitchen garden was Salsify , looking like a large purple Goatsbeard flower . In the conditions , butterflies were almost non existent , apart from the odd Meadow Brown , flushed from the long grass in the fields . A few moths were also disturbed , including this Yellow Shell . On my way back home , I called in on the Common , but it was just as quiet there . I had a look for the Purple Hairstreak egg on the Oak tree that I have posted previously , but there has been so much growth on the tree , it is impossible to find it now , but in the area it should have been , I think , I found this very well armoured Shieldbug . It's not listed in my book , so I cannot give the exact species . In the Orchid Glade , two Common Blue butterflies were in the grass , hoping for some sun , and , living up to it's name , the Glade now has three species of Orchid in flower , Common Spotted , Pyramidal and this Bee Orchid , which is said to resemble a fat bumblebee . On the heathland , the Buckthorn trees are being well munched , as on just one , I found four Brimstone caterpillars , of various sizes , but this one , from the size of it , looks as if it will be pupating in not too long . Large numbers of Speckled Yellow and Common Heath and a single Cinnabar , all day flying moths were found amongst the heather and gorse .
After seeing the hundreds of Painted Ladies passing through not that long ago , it seemed strange to find just a single specimen in the heather . A single Meadow Brown was also found in another Glade on my way back to the car .
After lunch , the sky did brighten a bit , and that had me heading for the farm lake . I was greeted almost straight away by a young Jay on the path around the lake , not one of the easiest birds to get close to . On the lake , nature , if that's the right expression , has taken it's toll on the Little Grebe family , with just four of the six youngsters around . Having said that , the four remaining youngsters are growing quickly , not surprising as the adults worked tirelessly , diving for food the whole time I was there . I've often been amazed at the speed across the water of these birds , and when one of the youngsters had a stretch , the propulsion gear explained things . Better news of the Mallard family , they are still at Mum and four , and the four are nearly as big as Mum . Just one Meadow Brown butterfly was recorded here as well . The wind was increasing , and for Damselflies that means trouble , and for spiders , that means mealtime . Several Damselflies were found in webs , and some were actually 'on the table' , as was this Azure . On one of the bushes around the lake , I found this caterpillar , which I have seen before .
On yesterday's post Rambling Rob commented that I had changed the header to the Blog . Not realising it , when I deleted the earliest album of pictures , the header went with it , and I still can't remember which picture was on originally , so we have a new one , until I muck it up again .