Sunday, 5 July 2009

Sunday 5th.July 2009

Bird survey at Down House was overdue , so I set off to do it this morning , but as usual made the first stop on the Common . The Ash tree was alive with Purple Hairsteaks , at the top only . After a while , I went to the other sites , where I got the underwing shots yesterday . No luck at the first , but some specimens coming down at the second , into a very large Bramble patch , on a steep bank . Some of the stems were like young trees , but I finally found a spot , standing on a fallen tree , with lots of Bramble stems below , to catch me if I fell . Sorry to disappoint you Warren , but I managed to stay upright , and eventually a male PH landed , then opened his wings to sun himself . Trouble was , I was down sun from him , so didn't get the best reflection of that shimmering purple topwing . A while later , a female landed in the right place for the sun , but behind Bramble leaves , so there I was stretched out , ready to overbalance , and really make Warren's day , but I managed to stay upright , even if the shot was a bit fuzzy . If you catch the light right , the whole of the male's topwing is this shimmering colour .
I finally got to Down House in one piece , and completed the survey . I was expecting to see young birds with adults , but didn't see any . 21 species were recorded , but mainly in ones and twos , with nothing more exciting than a continuously singing Chiffchaff and a pair of Pheasants , that I nearly stepped on in the long grass . It was as well that there were some butterflies about to record . 10 species , Meadow Brown (210) , Ringlet (46) , Marbled White (157) , mostly still dozing around the edges of the fields , , Large White (1) , Small White (2) , Comma (4) , Large Skipper (2) , Small Skipper (42) , Painted Lady (1) and Common Blue (2) .
After lunch , a quick look in at the farm lake found 'sorting out the next generation' going on as usual , be it a pair of Azure Damselflies .
Or a pair of Common Blue Damselflies ,
Or a female Emperor Dragonfly , that came and layed her eggs , right below where I was standing . Butterflies were few , but in one corner , I found another 8 freshly emerged Gatekeeper males . Whilst on site , I had two quick sightings of a Hobby , once low over the lake , then a stoop into a low pass over the cereal field , never anywhere near a shot . Just before leaving , I met the couple who are renting the cottage on the farm , who mentioned that they saw a Heron taking a chick the other evening , whilst they were walking round the lake . That and the obvious Fox , probably explains the dwindling Little Grebe youngsters .
I had a few other shots to post tonight , but I downloaded a new version of Internet Explorer this morning , and it seems to have mucked up moving pictures whilst compiling the blog , so I am leaving it here .


John Young said...

Hi Fred, Continuing to enjoy your blog, you certainly do get out a lot only just caught up with yesterdays. So far failed with trying to id the caterpillar. Like you I didn't manage to see any lizard orchids, so strange that none appeared after last year but I guess that is what orchids do. John

Adam said...

Hi Greenie

Thinking of going up to Chelsfield next Saturday to watch the Spitfire/Vampire flypast and noticed High Elms not a million miles away. I'll have the kids in tow but wouldn't mind checking out those SW Frits - any chance of directions to best location (

Take no notice of Warren, from what I remember you were the only one up the ladder when he wanted his owl box up!!!


ShySongbird said...

'Some' butterflies!!? what an enormous amount! You really do know where to look! The caterpillar on the previous post has defeated me completely, I have spent hours (literally!) looking through my books and the internet, but no luck at all. Please do let us know if you find out, it is driving me batty!!!

Randy Emmitt said...

Enjoyed my visit, the photos are wonderful. The damselflies in a wheel really grabbed my attention.