Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Tuesday 21st.July 2009

With the day off from the Greensand Ridge , I last night made sketchy plans for a run down to Thursley Common , near Guildford , for a day's Dragonfly spotting . When I woke up this morning , the forecast had changed dramatically , to I cancelled the Dragonflies , and headed off to Beckenham Cemetery to visit my parent's grave , and then take a look at South Norwood Country Park , which lies adjacent to the cemetery .
I started the Country Park at the lake , which was pretty quiet . Canada Geese , some with young , a few Coots appeared when another visitor with a child arrived with the remains of a loaf of bread . But it did give an opportunity to get a shot of male and female together , showing the only difference between them , being the white plate on their foreheads being larger on the male on the right . The pair had four youngsters , but they waited under some overhanging vegetation , for the parents to bring the food to them , except one , who seemed to be just daydreaming . Three Grey Herons were around the lake when this one touched down .
Moving on , I found this stand of Bistort-Polygonum bistorta growing on the edge of one of the drainage ditches . As I bent down to get a close up of the flower , I was confronted by one of the Harlequin Ladybirds with the four orange spots , and the solid block of black on the plate behind the head . On the actual flower I was going to photograph , another appeared , this time the multi spotted one , still with an almost solid black block . The more I looked , the more Harlequin Ladybirds I found , eventually I found one with the classic 'M' or 'W' marking on the plate , showing just how variable this species is . A bit more looking produced a larvae of the species , and then , I must admit I was stumped with the next find . It was obviously a Harlequin going through one of it's stages of development , but I couldn't work out which stage . When I got home and did a bit of research , it turns out to be the pupa stage , the last of four skin sheddings , from which change the adult will emerge .
As usual , on the way round , I recorded the butterflies , but the stiff breeze kept things quiet out in the open . But , as usual in these conditions , if a sheltered corner can be found , and if that corner just happens to have a Buddleia in it , then that is where the butterflies will be found . I thought I would go for some different poses today , so I carefully made my way through the Brambles , as close as I could get to the Buddleia , and waited .Comma top , Peacock below .Comma left , Red Admiral right .Red Admiral left , Peacock right .
One butterfly that was braving the wind , was this Painted Lady , which was nectaring on Creeping Thistle . In all , 9 species were recorded being , Small Skipper (2) , Gatekeeper (23) , Red Admiral (3) , Peacock (7) , Comma (5) , Large White (15) , Small White (22) , Green Veined White (8) and Meadow Brown (10) . Several Silver Y day flying moths were also seen .
I stopped to try to get a shot of a family of Common Whitethroats , but the parents kept the youngsters well concealed in the scrub , and continually 'scolded' me until I left the area . Three Kestrels were hunting over the Park and I tried several times to get shots , but the wind just kept buffeting them , making a shot impossible . I also came across a large flock of Linnets , that went up noisily as I passed , and also another flock of mixed Green and Goldfinches . A flock of 100+ Starlings also overflew the site .
To finish , a few plants noted on the way round . In many places , Broad-leaved Everlasting Pea was scrambling over everything in it's way to get it's flowers out in the open . Many of the flower heads had already opened , but some of the Wild Carrot is yet to unfurl , and these will provide fuel for many insects in the weeks to come . Another favourite of Bees and Butterflies is another member of the large Pea family is Goat's Rue-Galega officinalis .
After lunch , I thought about going out again , but the skies closed in , and the rain started .
Tomorrow , weather permitting , it's the monthly Dormouse and Reptile survey , up on the Greensand Ridge .


Ken Browne. said...

Hi Greenie.
It is a pity you never got to go to Thursley Common. I have heard it is a good place for butterflies, and Dragon/Damselflies. I have never been ,I hope to go this year. Nice photo's of the Lady Birds. I expect you know but the Harlequin Lady Bird is a Asian species, and they only arrived in Britain around Summer 2004.I never realised that there was 46 species of Lady Birds resident in Britain.
It's nice that you went and paid your respects to your parents.
Nice set of photo's Fred.

Warren Baker said...

Nice little trip out greenie. I tried this afternoon but it just kept raining!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the useful tip on sexing a coot - I must look for that difference in the white plate next time I'm at the local pond.