Friday, 24 July 2009

Friday 24th.July 2009

In between some very heavy showers this morning , I did manage to get out to visit Salt Box Hill , just below Biggin Hill Airport . As I arrived , once again it started raining , but I was out , and was going to make the best of it . Needless to say , nothing was on the wing , what was about , was down in the vegetation , trying to keep out of the wind and dry . Which was exactly what this Painted Lady was doing , and that patterned underwing , made it very hard to find , not only for me , but also for it's enemies . Other species came out of the vegetation as I walked through , with only 7 species recorded on the smaller clearance , and 3 of them were Whites . By the time I got back onto the top path , my trousers were soaked , but I headed off to the newly fenced area . Along the way , I found Common Fumitory , a flower of disturbed ground . As it's name suggests , the petals look as if they had been burnt at the ends , just like the Burnt Orchids that I found at Mount Caburn , nr. Lewes . Like other sites visited recently , there isn't a lot of flowering plants now , in fact if the Marjoram had already gone over , there would be hardly any . One of the few still flowering is Wild Basil , perhaps it's because it seems to open it's flowers almost one by one , providing valuable nectar over a long period . By the time I reached the far end of the site , the rain actually stopped , and for a couple of minutes , the sun could be felt . That was all that this very fresh Painted Lady , that could well have emerged from eggs layed by the 'mass influx', to open it's wings , and show that deeper colouring , that that of it's predesessors . In all , I recorded 6 of this species , but this was the only open-winged one . Just a single Common Blue was recorded , a male , perched atop St.John's Wort . Another patch of colour caught my eye , which turned out to be a member of the Pea/Vetch family , Tufted Vetch , with those paired , ladder like leaves that most of the family sports . I found a member of the Cricket family , that used to be found only along the coast of E. and SE. England , but now it can be found much further inland . It's name is Roesel's Bush Cricket , but I think it should be called the 'I don't want my Photo taken Cricket' , as I must have spent 10/15 minutes trying to get a good shot of it , and this was the best I could get , it just would not keep still . Identified as a Cricket by the fact that the antennae are longer than the body , well longer in this case , and as Roesel's by the pale margin to the entire pronotum side flap , the U shaped area behind the eye . I also found a Spider , and have spent a long time this afternoon trying to ID it . Smaller than the normal Garden species , and it does not have the 'cross' usually found on the Garden , but after looking at over 700 pictures , I still can't find it . And finally , a small but very colourful caterpillar . It was on Black Knapweed , and was a light blue with mauve patches along it's length . I think this one is definitely a moth caterpillar , I've got everything crossed , because my last two moth caterpillars were IDd by Dean as Saw Fly caterpillars .
Didn't get out this afternoon , as it has rained almost non stop til 4 o'clock .


Warren Baker said...

You did better than me Greenie, what a shite day!
PS thanks for the CB/BA ID help, ive got it now!

Anonymous said...

Definately a moth cat, Greenie. Can`t help further though. A caterpillar field guide is one that`s lacking from my library.
I`m hopeless at spiders as well.