Monday, 20 July 2009

Monday 20th.July 2009

Could only get out this morning , but as it worked out , the weather closed in by lunchtime and the wind got up , so it didn't matter in the end . No need to say where I started , and with less wind than of late early on , the Ash tree was buzzing , the most sightings that I have had this year . Always difficult to put a figure on it , but I estimate that the PHs were getting on for 50 . Many came down to the lower branches and several , like the one above , came down all the way to the lower vegetation . I first recorded them on the 2nd. , so some have been out for nearly 3 weeks now , and the weather , bird strikes and aerial battles are taking their toll , and wear and tear is definitely showing now . I left them to it , and went off over the rest of the Common to see what's new . I started off at the Buckthorn , in another vain attempt to find a Brimstone chrysalis . Plenty of chewed leaves , and also a Forest Bug-Pentatoma rufipes , was keeping cool under the leaves . The large number of Broad-leaved Helleborines are starting to come into flower now , in a way it's a shame that they do not stand out on their own , rather than in amongst other vegetation . In the adjoining Orchid Glade , there are three stands of Canadian Golden-Rod , quite appropriate really , as Canadian soldiers were stationed on the Common during the last War . This is also coming into flower , and is attracting good numbers of butterflies , like this female Large White , a female Gatekeeper , who was happy to show both lower and upper wing , and a very freshly emerged Peacock .
Down in the grass , I found a fresh male Brown Argus , but already he was showing the signs of a bird strike on his wings . In another glade , apart from large numbers of Gatekeepers , I found a pair of mating Small Skippers . In all , I recorded 14 species on my visit , with Gatekeeper (59) being by far the most numerous . Throughout my visit Blackcap and Chiffchaff sang continuously .
My second stop was Keston Ponds , which although it being a weekday , had a good number of anglers around the banks . 6 species of Dragon/Damselflies were recorded , including Brown Hawker . I managed to get a shot of Red Eyed Damselfly , not easy here , as they tend to keep away from the edges , frustratingly posing on the outer Lilly leaves . I took several , then focused on what I thought was another , but then realised that it was in fact a Small Red Eyed Damselfly . Apart from the obvious size difference , the SRED has the same blue segments on the end of the abdomen as RED , but also on the underside of the segment in front . After recording this species at Keston Ponds a few years ago , as the first record in LB Bromley , I didn't record it last year , but now it's back again . This species migrated over from Europe , and one of the first places that it was found was in the lake at the Bluewater Shopping Centre , near Dartford . Only other interesting sighting was one of the large Carp , sunbathing just under the surface , in the top Pond .
With cloud and wind increasing , I made a quick stop at the Farm Lake on my way home . Very quiet all round , with any butterflies sheltering down in the vegetation , including this male Gatekeeper , who was obviously at the back of the queue when they handed out the orange colouring . I recorded a few more Black Tailed Skimmers this visit , including n egg laying female . 2 Emperor Dragonflies and another Brown Hawker were the only large species on the wing . Common Darters are still emerging in good numbers , and the early emergent males are patrolling their territories , like this one .


Warren Baker said...

An Open winged PH. Well done Greenie!

Ken Browne. said...

Hi Greenie. A great count of P.H's, nice photo too. I would love to see one over here.
The high count of Gateeeper's around this year is amazing.

ShySongbird said...

An excellent post again Greenie full of interesting information, I am still amazed by the number and variety of butterflies you see. Could you just clarify something, I thought Warren had mentioned that you said to look in Oak trees for PHs but I noticed a couple of times lately you have mentioned Ash trees, have I remembered wrongly?

Greenie said...

ShySongbird ,
Sorry for the confusion . When Warren queeried the Ash tree , I answered it on his Blog , should have done it on mine .
Purple Hairstreak colonies live and lay their eggs on Oaks . This particular Ash on the Common , stands surrounded by smaller Oak trees . So the PHs use the Ash as a 'master tree' , similar to that done by Purple Emperors , enabling especially the males to get a better all round view . They may well mate in the Ash , but the females will return to the Oaks to lay their eggs . At the other two sites I visit on the Common , the PHs use the larger Oaks .

Dave J. said...

Hi Greenie
You have some great shots of butterflies and moths some I have never seen, well pictured!