Friday, 10 July 2009

Friday 10th.July 2009

It felt like a butterfly day right from the off , with less wind and bright blue sky , at least to start with . Having not been for a couple of days , I made my first stop the Ash tree on the Common . The tree was alive . Not only with Purple Hairstreaks , already warmed by the early morning sun , but also by a large mixed Tit flock , that was actively intent on 'PH for breakfast' . The saving grace is that the PHs are very agile , and after a while , the flock moved on , probably to find an easier meal . When things quietened down , 5 PHs came down and settle on the top of the
nearby Bracken , including this specimen , that looks as if it has recently emerged , and is still inflating it's wings . Also the 'tails' on the back of the rear wings are very tidy and intact . In 10 minutes or so , she has completed the inflation , and was off up into the Ash . I also noticed 2 Black Tailed Skimmers hawking for insects in the glade , and this one was successful just before I got this shot , lets hope PHs aren't on his menu . Even though he was over mature , he still had a good turn of speed in the air . I enjoyed half an hour at the Ash , before heading off to High Elms .
I decided to do the full Butterfly transect today , as the weekend doesn't look good .
The first noticeable thing was that the meadows have hardly any colour in them , just a basic brown of the grass . This reflected in the species that I would normally expect to find here . On the first Bramble patch on the edge of the meadow , I found a really clean Painted Lady , that could well have emerged from one of those eggs , laid by the 'invasion' a few weeks ago . Also found was a fresh brood Common Blue , and quite common with the second brood , these specimens can be much smaller than the first brood . This one was no bigger than a Brown Argus , as I hope can be seen compared to the Creeping Thistle . Still looking very dapper , the few Marbled Whites should be enjoying the warm weather . Good numbers of Six Spot Burnett and Silver Y , day flying moths were also recorded . Finished with the Conservation Field , I headed towards Burnt Gorse , and on the way , checked the 2 Violet Helleborines . The first one to show , is now extending it's flower spike , and it shouldn't be long before the flowers open . The second is still doing well too . In the small glade before Burnt Gorse , the male Silver Washed Fritillaries were already charging about , and the females trying to keep out of the way . At the far end , where I had the White Admirals , I was watching a female feeding on Bramble flower , when in came 2 males , both attempting to mate with her . She held them off for so long , but then got caught , and the pair swooped into the trees . I carried on looking , when , I assume the same pair came down again and landed on the Brambles . Straight away , they were set upon by other males trying to un-join them , and they had to keep moving . The male is the open winged one . Eventually , they had enough , and headed for the tree tops again , to finish what they had started . Within 1mtr. was a pair of Green Veined Whites , and the male had the same intentions , but with a flutter of the wings , and an upturned abdomen , she gave him the headache story , and he went off for a cold shower . I also had a brief sighting of White Admiral here , but it headed upwards too . Whilst on Burnt Gorse I had numerous SWF sightings , with five specimens in view at one time . Of interest , I disturbed a male Roe Deer there , and it galloped across the grassland and jumped the fenceline like Red Rum , not to be seen again .
I checked the Small glade for White Letter Hairstreaks , but still no sign , but under the lower branches of a Yew , a pair of Ringlets were mating .More SWF sightings on the way to and at the Orchid Bank , and on one of the wide rides , further down the transect , I had a pair of White Admirals , who seemed happy with me taking shots , but left at speed when a teneral Southern Hawker Dragonfly , decided to look for food in that area . This is my first sighting this year of this species . I detoured a bit from the transect to look for Yellow Bird's Nest , but it was in vain , but while I was off track , I decided to look at a small glade not far away . I don't usually come down this far , but as soon as I got into the glade , a SWF flew by . Good numbers of other species too , then I stopped in my tracks . There in front of me was another pair of mating SWFs . I have observed this twice before , once many years ago on the Surrey Hampshire borders with the two old boys I used to go out with , and once a couple of years ago here at High Elms , but to gets two pairs in one day is just incredible . More photos were taken , and even when a lady with a dog came by , they didn't even twitch . At least 4 SWFs were recorded in this glade and more on the rides when I was back on the transect .
The full sightings were , Ringlet (121) , Gatekeeper (31) , Meadow Brown (359) , Small Skipper (52) , Essex Skipper (6) , Marbled White (3) , Red Admiral (1) , Common Blue (2) ,Large White (16) , Comma (18) , Green Veined White (6) , Small White (13) , Painted Lady (1) , White Admiral (3) , Speckled Wood (5) , Large Skipper (1) and Silver Washed Fritillary ( 30/35) .
17 species in total , and 18 counting the PH on the Common . Not a bad day .


4 comments:

Warren Baker said...

Sure was a butterfly day! I didn't get a PH coming down low for a pic though.
I recorded 14 species today, I didn't know there were 14 species on my patch!!

Simon said...

You had a great butterfly day! The first SWF have emerged at Tudeley RSPB this past week.

Ken Browne. said...

Hi Greenie. I would call that a terrific day out. Great numbers of butterflies. I lke the White Admiral. That's one I hope to see one day. Well done

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