Friday, 3 July 2009

Friday 3rd.July 2009

It was almost mid afternoon , before any brightness appeared in the sky , and even then , it was in bits and pieces . Nevertheless , that first bright spell had me heading out .
A stop on the Common was my first stop , and at the Ash tree , 10/15 Purple Hairstreaks were recorded , but not a single one coming anywhere within camera distance . I shall try again tomorrow morning , if the weather is suitable . A couple of interesting things found in the glade , were specimens of either Crow Garlic or Field Garlic , identifiable until the flowers appear between the bulbils , pink for the first or white for the second , I shall keep an eye on them . The second , over near the car park were the caterpillars of a day flying moth that I have posted a couple of times recently , the Cinnabar moth , on their foodplant Ragwort . With no luck here , I headed off for Salt Box Hill , now that it is accessible again . I expected an increase in Marbled White numbers since my last visit , but a conservative 352 was beyond my expectations . They outnumbered the Meadow Browns and Ringlets by 3-1 , and if there weren't already enough , now that the females have emerged , well , you know the rest . The larger female with the brown underwing markings can be seen above the male , and also , the golden leading edge of the female's leading wing . As I said , 352 was a conservative estimate , and even as I was on site , fresh females , like this one , were emerging all the time . Mating was not just confined to the Marbled Whites , as the 6 Spot Burnet moths were doing their thing as well . Another day flying moth found in good numbers on the site was the small Pyrausta purpualis . I know I have posted several Commas , but I couldn't resist posting this one , the subdued light seemed to catch it just right . Another of the large Labiate family ( square stems ) , caught my eye whilst there . This one , looking very Orchid like , is Black Horehound , found frequently on waste ground and waysides . The full butterfly count was , Marbled White (352) , Meadow Brown (98) , Ringlet (106) , Small Skipper (10) , Large White (3) , Comma (3) Brimstone (1) , Large Skipper (4) and a very testosterone charged Dark Green Fritillary .
On the way home , I decided to do a quick visit back to High Elms , and , as usual , as I arrived , the sunshine departed . Even so , the Silver Washed Fritillary number has increased ,to an estimated 20+ , and , as I thought yesterday , the females have already started to emerge . Several times during the short visit , I saw males courting females , but I don't think any of them managed to mate , as the females were more interested in feeding . Last year , I didn't manage any shots of freshly emerged females , so I was pleased to get some today . As can be seen , the female lacks the four black bars that the male shows across the forewing , and is less vibrant in colour . Once again the estimate is conservative , as they are so mobile , but I did have four specimens in my sight on two occasions , well away from each other , and 2s and 3s in other glades . No sign today of the White Admirals , but the sunny periods were very short lived .


Warren Baker said...

Good pics again Greenie - getting the hang of that camera now. :-)

Thanks for the PH tip. I'll watch out for them.

Warren Baker said...

I know it was a BBC Greenie. For some reason i wrote BTS ! Thanks for the correction. You know what it's like, getting old and all that. :-)

Greenie said...

Warren ,
Don't know what you're talking about .