Thursday, 4 June 2009

Thursday 4th.June 2009

Not a strimmer in sight , but plenty of walking , as I had promised to help a friend turning tins in the Darenth Valley , as long as I showed him the Small Blues at Fackenden Down first . So we met at Fackenden at 0930 . The first refugia turned , produced this Grass Snake , and , by the
look of it , it had eaten it's breakfast not long ago with that bulge . As can be seen from the blurred head , it didn't stay around too long . Very soon afterwards , a female Adder was found . Very few Slow Worms were found on the way round , but two immature Adders were recorded . Butterflies were also very scarce , but the first Large Skipper of the year was found here ,
identified by the marbling on the wings , and as a male by the scent marks , black lines on the top wings . I think this one was very recently emerged , as the wings do not seem fully inflated . Getting close to the car , I was sweating as we had not found a Small Blue , but , within sight of the car , we found 3/4 specimens , I must admit I was expecting more , but it must be a small colony on this site . Other species recorded were Common Blue , Painted Lady , Small Heath and Brown Argus . My friend got his shots , and I felt relieved as we made our way to the second site , an old firing range off the Eynsford Road . We started turning tins , but we had to admit , it was a different story to Fackenden , with many bare areas under the tins . Our attention was distracted by 'mewing' above , as two , then a third Common Buzzards drifted into view . Not as close as at Dorking , but still nice to see . On the ground , we found a white variant of Fragrant Orchid , and a specimen of Deadly Nightshade-Atrope bella donna , still in it's flower stage , before producing the glossy black berries , which are extremely poisonous . Only a couple of Slow Worms and a juvenile Grass Snake were recorded for our efforts up and down the slopes , but as we were leaving , the 'mewing' once again had us looking skywards , but this time it was a single Common Buzzard and what we think was a Hobby having a barney .
There should have been a picture of the two Birds of Prey here , but a message has come up stating that I cannot post any more pictures , as my storage is full . Until I can sort things out , I will continue with just text .
Butterflies recorded were Common Blue , Meadow Brown and Large Skipper . Several Speckled Yellow , Burnet Companion and Mother Shipton moths were recorded . As we headed for the car , Common Fumitory was found in a set-aside field , and the tattiest Common Blue butterfly you have ever seen , given that they haven't been ou that long .
Our last stop was Lullingstone Golf Course , where very quickly , we came across the Henbane that John/Go Wild in Kent found last year . It is in full flower like the Deadly Nightshade , and also very poisonous . Very little was found under the refugia here either , but there was good birdsong from several Yellowhammers , Skylarks and a couple of Willow Warblers , but no sign of Turtle Dove , which used to be reliably found here . Greater Knapweed was in flower , and a superb display of Common Poppy , inched just above the cereal crop in the farmer's field . In the long grass , we put up a Brown Hare .
Butterflies recorded were Painted Lady , Common Blue , Meadow Brown ,Small Heath and a first of the year for me , Small Tortoiseshell . Cinnabar , Speckled Yellow and an unidentified one , basically beige with black or dark brown head and a dark 'boomerang' shaped mark with a spot above it , on each wing , but I can't post the picture .


Warren Baker said...

bloody silly computers, always give out stupid messages! Just keep trying with the pics greenie.

PS Joy was pleased to see the kite this morning, but not ''that'' pleased!!!!!!!!

Ken Browne. said...

Hi Greenie. Again more nice pictures. It's surprising that the Common Buzzard has spread so wild afield has it has in such a short time to become our commonest bird of prey.It not so easy to see a Kestrel these days.
Without looking it up, what do you think the Grass Snake has eaten?

Greenie said...

Ken ,
Grass Snakes feed almost entirely on anphibians , and from the shape of it , I think it was most likely a frog .

Warren ,
It was the Blogger Upload that said I had filled my storage allowance . I'm probably going to have to dump a lot of pictures from when I started blogging , unless anyone has any other ideas ?

Anonymous said...

I think you`ll have to delete some older posts, Greenie. I know blogger is free but they only allow you 1gb of storage.

Greenie said...

Dean ,
Thanks for the info .
I have deleted the oldest blogs , but I still cannot upload a picture . I shall keep trying .
Thanks for your help .

ShySongbird said...

Great post again Greenie. If you are using Bloggers Picassa you can buy extra storage for $20 a year, which I would think is around £15 which gives you an extra 10 gig and if you pay more you get more. If you go to Picassa web albums you will find the details. Hope this helps.

Greenie said...

ShySongbird ,
Thank you for the information . I have had a look at the Forum and the problem crops up a couple of times . Worrying though that people who bought the extra storage , still get the 'full quota' message come up .
Have reduced the size of the bog , deleting oldest posts , but message keeps appearing .
Been so preoccupied , forgot to answer your comment on previos post . On reflection , I think you could be right with it being a Woodlark on the branch as well .
Thanks again .

Dave J. said...

Hi Greenie
Great shots of the reptiles you really are the Reptile Geru!!
Dave J