Friday, 14 August 2009

Friday 14th.August 2009

I will never learn . I sat at breakfast , and heard the forecast , cloud burning off by mid morning , sunny afternoon , 26C .With the sun and that temperature , I decided to give Gatwick another go for Brown Hairstreak . I left home in sun , but within 10 minutes , it was gone , not to be seen again , in the Gatwick area , til 2.30 pm. , and then rarely , with a cool wind . Just the sort of conditions you don't want , for any species of butterfly , and especially not for BHs . With that temperature forecasted , I just went in a T shirt , big mistake . But it did make me keep on the move , rather than standing still . Checking out the Water Mint , that was covered in insects on the last visit , there was hardly anything to be seen , apart from a Silver Y day flying moth , that flew a few feet in front of me . I followed , and thought , if it works for butterflies and Crickets , I wonder . The first attempt , it flew off again , but took up the second offer to warm up on my hand . In the same area , I disturbed a Grey Wagtail , that was fossicking on a mudbank in the small river . It called and flew off , but I could not find it again . I did find an adult Kestrel , maybe the one I saw last time , but no sign of the youngsters . Along the footpath , there were signs of Autumn , with Yew fruits , in various stages of development . The fruits which are known as arils , are not poisonous , but the seeds contained within are . You might not wish to know this , but around the Country , the arils are called 'Snotty Gogs' or 'Snottle Berries' . Also showing bright red , were the fruits of the Guelder Rose-Viburnum opulus , a member of the Honeysuckle family . The small river is dominated in this length by Himalayan Balsalm and in some parts it covers the river from one bank to the other . In one small clear section , I found an unusually leaved water plant , Arrowhead-Sagittaria sagittifolia , obviously named after the flower . By midday , with no sign of the sun , I decided to try my luck on the other side of the airport , still alongside the same small river . I had been to this site once , and the amount of Blackthorn is enormous , but it still didn't produce any BHs. The sun did appear , spasmodically , but not enough to encourage any to show themselves . By 3 o'clock , I decided to give in , but decided at the last moment , to have one last look around the other side . I must admit , the weather was better than before , but still very windy there . Nothing on the Blackthorn , a last look at the Water Mint patch produced three Painted Ladies , two very neat , one definitely not . Just as I was about to leave , I spotted a Clouded Yellow right at the back , and as I reached for the camera , it flew along the bank , with me chasing , then across the river and over the trees . That just about sums up my day I thought , but at least that was my fourth specimen this year . By now I was knackered , and headed back to the car . As I crossed an open area with lots of Bird's Foot Trefoil in flower , another Clouded Yellow appeared . I dumped my bag and gave chase . CYs only stop briefly to nectar , then fly really fast , especially if you are chasing . It's a matter of trying to keep up , to be in position to get a shot before it's off again . During the chase , another appears , could this be a pair that will mate I thought , but my hopes were dashed by the body language of two males , each wanting rid of the other . Once again , it wasn't till I got home and edited the shots , that I found that I had managed to fluke another open winged shot of the second specimen , albeit more blurry than the Fackenden shot . So the excitement of the last 20 minutes , made up somewhat for a bad weather , bad sighting day . I've just checked last night's blog , and with no guesses made , the plant in flower that we never give a second look at was Mugwort-Artemisia vulgaris , a member of the Daisy family .


Kingsdowner said...

Yesterday you said you'd never ever get another open-wing shot of a clouded yellow. Your Henry Ullyett-style chasing clearly paid off.
Thanks for the picture of arrowhead, which I saw last week at Pett, but couldn't ID.

ShySongbird said...

It grieves me to say it but there really are signs of Autumn all around now, Summer just doesn't last long enough in this country!

We went where we thought there would be plenty of birds today, but no, nothing! It was also rather dull and windy which wasn't good for butterflies either :(

Shame you didn't see the BHs but great to see the Clouded Yellow again.

Josh Jenkins Shaw said...

Any chance you can PM me exact location of BH?


Anonymous said...

Greenie. It`s a good thing that the met people don`t get paid on a performance basis. They`d be forever skint.

Another great post, btw.

Greenie said...

Steve ,
That's all very well , but I need HU's energy as well . By the time I got back to the car , I was done for .

ShySongbird ,
Not sure if I will try for BHs again this season , but the CY half hour was worth the trip .
Sorry you had a 'Dean' day .

Josh ,
You should have got my email .

Dean ,
I agree 100% . They can't even get the afternoon right in the morning .
And they never apologise !