Monday, 8 June 2009

Monday 8th.June 2009

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 .
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' .
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 .


Ken Browne. said...

Hi Greenie. It is strange that you should mention and photograph the Corncockle, because just a few hours ago I was reading on the web about that very plant at Ranscombe Farm Reserve.Aparently it is good for flowers. I have yet to go there, even thought it is only a short distance from me near Cuxton,just off of the M2junction 2.
I should go as it could be good for Butterflies.

Warren Baker said...

ah! Greenie back in full flow! Good to see all is well. Oh! where are my meadow browns this year?

PS thanks for the deleting info.

Anonymous said...

That shield bug is amazing - the colours are like tempered steel.

Anonymous said...

Regards the Shieldbug, Greenie. All i can say is it`s an immature, and hard to ascertain to a species at that stage.