Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Tuesday 2nd.June 2009

As I assumed yesterday , today was spent sweating under a hard hat and ear defenders , strimming footpaths , with zero chance of any wildlife . Apart from that , my ears finished up like a couple of well done pork chops by the end of it .
So as I said , I will continue with the second site visited yesterday , Mt.Caburn , between Glynde and Lewis . The last time I visited , some 4/5 years ago , was on a filthy day with strong winds and horizontal rain . I remember walking up into the mist , and losing sight of the two old guys who showed me the site . This time , it was the heat that was the problem , until reaching the top , when a really strong wind was blowing , making photography very difficult . It is understandable why this is such a popular site for hang gliders to launch themselves off onto the beyond , not that there were any there on my visit . On the way up , I saw another two Common Buzzards , or perhaps the two from the butterfly site followed me , but they were at a distance over a recently ploughed field . One drifted off , but the other got into a fracas with a Hobby , that neither won , both drifting off in their own direction .
On reaching the top , which I believe was an Iron Age fort , the views all round were fantastic , South to the sea , and East and West along the South Downs . Right on the very top I found a Skylark on the ground , not a bad judge I thought . With that he launched himself into the air , and started rising and singing .
Then I got down to the object of the exercise , finding the Early Burnt Orchids that we found on the previous visit . It has nothing to do with age , but I couldn't remember exactly where they were , and anyway , everything looked so different . I scoured a South facing slope , but didn't even find an Orchid of any description . The wind was making walking difficult , especially as I was obviously doing more that I needed to do . I made my way to another South facing slope , and found the odd Common Spotted Orchid , then good numbers of Fragrant Orchids , and flowers like Horseshoe Vetch , but still no Burnt Orchids . As I descended the slope , the wind eased somewhat , and I started getting butterflies . The first was a Small Blue , that being so small was still being buffeted around by the lesser winds . There was , as I found out , agood sized colony on the site , but difficult to estimate the size in the conditions . Other species recorded were , Small Heath , Common Blue , Meadow Brown Painted Lady and Green Hairstreak .
Day flying moths recorded included Mother Shipton , lots of Burnet Companion , Cinnabar Moth , and several specimens of Forester moth , a species that I had not come across before .
I felt quite chuffed that for once , I had managed to ID the moth myself , until I realised that it might be the only day flying metallic green moth around , and a male I think , judging by those
feathery antennae . Eventually , I found a small group of what I was looking for , Early Burnt Orchid . Not in the best of condition , but all Orchids seem to be very advanced this year . This species is so called as the upper petals form a hood which is reddish/brown when the flowers first open , giving the appearance of being 'burned' , but the colour fades as the flowers mature . Just after finding them , I had an unusual sighting on the top of the slope , when 5 Kestrels were in the air , all together , hanging on the wind , but unfortunately too far off for a shot . The only other species seen were Jackdaw and Carrion Crow .
On my way back down , pleased that I had found some Early Burnt Orchids , but nothing like the previous numbers , I found my first Pyramidal Orchid of the year in flower . I left Mt.Caburn , passing Glyndebourne Opera house on the way , heading for Ashdown Forest , an area I had passed through on my way to the butterfly site , but now with time to stop and have a look . But not before a typical view of the British countryside on the side of the road between , 3 fields full of Llamas . They must have been feeling the heat under those wooly coats , as the white one , on the far left , was actually standing in the drinking trough . Several females had recently given birth , and I'm sure one said his name was 'Warren' . Tomorrow evening , I shall be larking about at the Old Lodge Reserve on Ashdown Forest .


Warren Baker said...

Cool name for a sheep greenie!! I don't think i'll have my pork chops on sunday now. Somehow Ive gone off them !

Anonymous said...

I like the look of that Forester Moth - head and antennae resemble the Golden Snitch from a game of quidditch, if you know your Harry Potter.
Pyramidal orchids are showing in the lanes around me on the IoW but not as advanced as yours, although it's supposed to be a our county flower, so that's not fair.

Greenie said...

Rambling Rob ,
I'm afraid that quidditch hasn't crossed my path yet , but who knows ?
I was hoping to come across the County flower of Sussex , Round Headed Rampion , on Mt.Caburn , but didn't .
Thanks for your comment .