A reasonable morning , with less wind than yesterday , but it would not last was the forecast .
I decided to make my first stop the farm lake , so if the weather changed , I wouldn't be far from home . Arriving in humid , warm conditions , it was surprising that there was little on the wing . The usual water birds , a Green Woodpecker , right across the other side , that flew off before allowing a photo and a couple of Swallows taking an early morning drink was all that was about birdwise . Butterflies were not much better , with just 11 from 4 species , and not a single Gatekeeper amongst them . A single Migrant Hawker was patrolling one corner , but , apart from that , just 1 Common Darter and a very over mature Black Tailed Skimmer , and 25+ Common Blue Damselflies was all that was recorded . A lot of the flowers around the lake have gone to seed now , like the Wild Carrot , turning almost inside out , before giving up it's seeds to the Finches , or dropping them for next year . One thing of interest , or that should be two , was a pair of what I thought were Froghoppers or Leafhoppers , making some more . I took the shot , then looked them up when I got home . I believe them to be Common Froghoppers-Philaenus spumarius , I should have got the first bit from the shape of their heads . Anyway , here comes the technical bit - this species is the champion jumper of the animal kingdom . They can jump 70cms. into the air . Their jump is so powerful , that in it's initial stages , a Gforce of over 400 gravities is generated . To compare this , an astronaut in orbit is subjected to 5 gravities . The young of these , develop in frothy clumps , commonly known as 'Cuckoo Spit' , found on grass . The article also told how they make the froth , but I don't think we need to go into that .
With the weather holding , I headed off to High Elms for a look around . I headed straight for the Orchid Bank and the Hemp Agrimony stands , looking for White Letter Hairstreaks , of which none were found , surprising , as conditions seemed perfect . In fact , I didn't find any butterflies on the HA at all . I hung about , hoping WLHs might appear , and noticed a pair of Migrant Hawkers , hawking over the area . Eventually one came to rest allowing a few shots . Both of them turned out to be immature males . As I passed the Silver Washed Fritillary favourite egg laying area , for this year , I found two females , but no egg laying went on . In total , I found five females , some still very respectable like this one , but others getting very tatty . It wasn't till I got to Burnt Gorse that I found the first of two males , and I think he could definitely be described as tatty , and he was the tidier of the two . Also found on Burnt Gorse were two Small Coppers . I went back to the HA a couple of times , only finding a single SWF and a Meadow Brown . On one occasion , I disturbed a pair of flies , I think they might be Mydaea scutellaris , ( but they are not , as Dean has identified them as Rhingia campestris , a hoverfly , thanks very much Dean ) , but they had one deed on their mind , and that was to do it acrobatically . Other species recorded were , Speckled Wood , Red Admiral , Brimstone , Brown Argus , Large ,Small and Green Veined White , Gatekeeper and Common Blue . Before heading home for lunch with the skies starting to darken , I gave the HA one more shot . Whilst waiting to see if anything came , I watched a female Common Blue , busily searching for ideal places to lay her eggs . I watched her through binoculars , rejecting many places , but every now and again , dabbing the end of her abdomen onto leaves of Bird's Foot Trefoil . I tried to find each egg after she had moved on , but it wasn't till I went to try and find the third egg that I saw her lay , that I was successful , a little white speck , much smaller than a pin head . These eggs laid by second brood adults , will hatch out after a short while , then feed before overwintering as full grown caterpillars at the base of the food plant , before re-emerging in March to carry on feeding , pupating , and fly as first brood adults in late May/early June , next year . One other thing caught my eye whilst there , and that was this Robber or Assassin Fly , which I think is the Common Awl Robberfly , which arrived quite close to me , with his lunch .
I left him with his , whilst I went home for my lunch , arriving just before the first shower of the day .
4 hours ago