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 .