Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Wednesday 3rd.June 2009

The third part of the trilogy from last Monday , after Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary and Black Adder , Early Burnt Orchid and Forester moth , not forgetting a Llama named Warren , was a stop at the Old Lodge Reserve on Ashdown Forest , a site I passed earlier in the day .
On arrival in the car park , I was greeted with Willow Warbler and Tree Pipit in full song , but after that , the walk along the top path was very quiet . When I got to the stand of Scots Pines , I was hoping for a Redstart , as I had read that they were about , but , with the high temperatures , out of the wind , I was not fortunate . But a 'chat' call from the Gorse patch beyond the reserve boundary caught my attention . At first , I only saw the female Stonechat , when she flew and settled on the barbed wire topping the fence . After a short while , her mate arrived , but he was not prepared to come out of the Gorse . Feeling well happy with what I had seen , I carried on down the slope , to the first of several acidic pools on the site . It was here that I saw my first Four Spotted Chaser of the year , settled for once , in between battles with the resident male Broad Bodied Chasers . The Four Spotted Chaser is so called because it has a spot in the centre of the leading edge of all four of it's wing , the only species to have this . Also on the pools were Azure , Common Blue and Large Red Damselflies . Many were in tandem , and several pairs were egg laying , like this pair of Large Red Damselflies , in what is known as the 'prayerposition' , with the male still clasping the female's head . Many of the Damselflies egg lay with their partner , but the larger female Damselflies tend to egg lay on their own , but often with the male patrolling above her as she does so . This was what was happening at the next pool , where a female Emperor Dragonfly was egg laying . Whereas the Broad Bodied Chaser dropped her spherical eggs into the shallows , the Emperor deposits each of her elongated eggs , directly into the plant tissue , by piercing the plant tissue with her ovipositor , the same principle being adopted by the Common Blue Damselflies in front of her . By doing so , the eggs are protected from predation within the plant tissue . Also this shot shows the dorsal marking , along the lenght of the abdomen , although not as prominent as on the male , but a good diagnostic marker . Some of the eggs this female laid were as deep as she could possibly get , without going under . As I walked back up the slope , back towards the Scots Pines , a Wasp Beetle-Clytus arietis , landed on my hand , presumably to be photographed , and who was I to deny it's wish . Further on I came across a bird , which I think was a Tree Pipit , but wasn't in full song , so it has to be a maybe . Back at the Scots Pines , there was still no sign of a Redstart , but I did put up a bird from the ground that flew 25 mtrs. further on and landed , again on the ground . As I approached , it made no attempt to move , so I took a record shot . I carried on reducing the distance between us , and in the process , took six more shots . The final shot , just before it flew off with two others , showed an eye stripe that continued to the back of the head , and black and white markings at the bend of the wing . I thought at the time that it might be , but it wasn't till I got home and checked the book and the picture , that I could confirm that it was a Woodlark . I have taken distant photographs of them before both here and at Knowle Park , but this was the first good , clear shot that I have managed . The Fact that I didn't see the Redstart wasn't so bad now , but as a bonus , as I passed the Gorse patch , on the way back to the car park , Mr. and Mrs. Stonechat posed , both in the same frame .
Tomorrow , I don't care what I do , as long as it doesn't involve a strimmer , hard hat and ear defenders . I've had enough of them over the last two days .

3 comments:

Warren Baker said...

Great birds today Greenie. Woodlark especially.

Thanks for the info on the stinkhorn, You probably told me the same last year, lets hope this year it stays in my head!!

Ken Browne. said...

Hi Greenie.
Another good day you had. I think the birds come second in the photo front today. I especially lke the shot of the female Emperor laying her eggs in the plant deep in the water.Mind you the shot of the Four Spotted Chaser with the light glistening on it's wings is probably as good.Nice one.

ShySongbird said...

Great post as usual Greenie, I'm pleased with myself as I wondered about a Woodlark before I scrolled to your identification, only because I saw one on another blog earlier today though! I thought the more distant bird may have been one also?

Loved the Four Spotted Chaser and the Stonechats too.