I woke up this morning , opened the curtains , looked at the weather , and thought , so that's what a Dean day looks like . Everything was soaked from the overnight rain , drizzle was still falling intermittently , thin fog was lying in patches , a thoroughly miserable day .
I spent most of the morning , scouring the Web for my mystery insect from the last post . The consensus of opinion is that it is a Sawfly , but the actual species is still a mystery . By lunch , my eyes had gone , and as I had promised to check a Helleborine at Down House for a fellow surveyor there , I set off . Being higher ground , the weather seemed worse there , with every tree dripping . I soon found the Helleborine , and was able to confirm that it was indeed a Violet Helleborine , but the standard one , not the achlorophyllous type that we have at High Elms . That sorted , I contemplated going home as everything was so damp , but decided to have a walk to West Kent Golf Course , which adjoins the property . As I crossed the large meadow on the Public Footpath , I happened to notice a Painted Lady , wings folded , sitting on Black Knapweed , waiting for the sun to come out . I got a couple of shots , then thinking about a comment posted recently , from down in the 'Drylands' of Kent , that a Camberwell Beauty could be the next butterfly on the finger , I thought I had better get in some practice first . So I offered my finger , and the Painted Lady stepped onto it . I thought how strange , that this species is so active , yet in these conditions , was quite happy to oblige . When on the finger , it's amazing what can be seen . There was very little to be seen until I got to the bank above the golf course . There I found a female Roesel's Bush-Cricket , and once again , she obliged and posed on my finger . Maybe it was because she had lost one of her back legs and couldn't spring away , but it gave the opportunity for a close up of the cream edged pronotum side flap , which so helps with it's ID , and a female by the ovipositor on the end of her abdomen . Things were going really well with the ladies , so I thought I'd try the males . A first attempt with a male Brown Argus was a failure , but a male Common Blue was only too happy to get warmth from my finger . The Grasshoppers were not so helpful , but I did manage to get a Common Green Grasshopper to pose on a Bramble leaf . Very little was on the wing , so it was eyes down to see what was amongst the ground vegetation , and I managed to find both male , with the saddle on it's back , and the female , with the ovipositor , Dark Bush-Crickets . A surprise find in a scrubby , dark area , was a fungi of the Ink Cap family , Coprinus picaceus , and that second part leads to it's common name , Magpie Fungus . Surprising because I normally find this fungi at High Elms , but not until late September/October . Another surprise was finding the 'tree climbing' version of the Roman Snail .
Butterflies recorded , apart from those mentioned , were just Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers , until I came across a second brood Small Heath , which are just starting to emerge . At least the drizzle had stopped by now , and at times the sun's warmth could be felt through the grey clouds . A couple of plants that I came across include the delicate Harebell , and the Medival version of 'Glade' , Ploughman's Spikenard , and this is as good as the flowers get , never opening fully . I finished off the afternoon , with a couple of very fresh young ladies , good job Warren isn't reading this . The first , a Common Blue , followed very shortly afterwards , by an exquisite Brown Argus . By the time I got back to the car , my walking boots were soaked through , luckily I was wearing gaiters , to stop the grass seeds getting into the boots , otherwise my trouser legs would have been soaked too .
Hoping to get over Dorking way tomorrow , looking for 2nd. brood Adonis Blue and Silver Spotted Skipper , maybe .
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