Saturday, 8 August 2009

Saturday 8th.August 2009

With two target species for the day , I made an early start around the M25 to Dorking . The site , set on top of the Downs , overlooking the town . I know both species are on the site , but have I got the timing right ? On my way from the car park , I found a member of the Campanula family , Clustered Bellflower , here in mid blue , but can also be found in purple , pink and white . When I got down to the main slope , I had the ground to myself , but not the air space , as a motorised paraglider enjoyed the freedom of the early morning blue sky . I didn't have to wait long to find my first target species . Amongst the Chalkhill and Common Blues , the vibrant colour of the Adonis Blue really stands out . The fully hair covered abdomen and undamaged wings , tells me that the second brood of this species has only just begun , perfect timing . On such a beautiful morning , the last thing on my mind was fungi , but that was what caught my attention next . Another member of the Ink Cap family , like yesterday's Magpie Fungus , this one was Coprinus comatus-Shaggy Ink Cap/Lawyer's Wig . During last season's hedge laying , I had promised to show the Adonis Blue to a couple of the lads who live locally , so once found , I gave them a call , and arranged to meet them on site . I carried on seeing what was about , and found the first of three Clouded Yellows of the day . I was trying to follow the first , when my mobile rang , the lads had arrived , and enquiring where to meet . As I answered the mobile I lost sight of the Clouded Yellow , and the air turned blue . We met up , showed them the Adonis Blue and other species around , then as they were leaving , a second Clouded Yellow appeared . I wasn't going to lose this one , and practically ignored their going . But it worked out , as I managed half a dozen shots , albeit that I had to race around like a lunatic to get them . It was shortly after their leaving , that I found the second target species , Silver Spotted Skipper . As things turned out , this was the only positive sighting , together with a probable . Another week would have made all the difference for this species , but , the Adonis Blues would not have been pristine then , all a matter of timing . Chalkhill Blues were showing in good numbers , and I recorded several mating pairs . This pair were lucky , just doing their thing , but other mating pairs , were bombarded by single males , trying to muscle in on the action . When I got almost to the far end of the site , I noticed a male Kestrel , drop down from a tree , and mantle , cover with outstretched wings , whatever it had caught . I close the distance between us , but , as I attempted a shot , he flew off . One of the stranger plants found on this site is Common Dodder , which isn't very common at all . It is a member of the Bindweed family , and a parasite on whatever it clambers over , like something from outer space .
A third member of the Blue family , the Common Blue , was also recorded in good numbers , and one pair , the male with mating on his mind , and the female without , posed within the same frame . Eventually , the female won , and he flew off , to look for another partner . a surprise species found , was Marbled White , who should be well past their sell-by date by now , but the two I saw today , this being one , still looked in good condition . I can't go to a chalk grassland site , without posting my favourite named plant , Squinancywort-Asperula cynanchica , tiny little flowers , in a pastel pink , a member of the Bedstraw family . Another beautiful flower , probably because of it's simplicity , is one of the pink members of the Pea family , Rest-Harrow .
I saw a lot of beautiful butterflies on the site today , but it is not all happiness out there . This male Chalkhill Blue didn't develop properly when it emerged , and will have great difficulty nectaring , never mind mating . In all , 19 butterfly species were recorded today , being , Common , Chalkhill and Adonis Blue , Painted Lady , Small Copper , Brown Argus , Small Heath , Large , Small and Green Veined White , Meadow Brown , Gatekeeper , Clouded Yellow , Silver Spotted Skipper , Brimstone , Peacock , Comma , Marbled White and Small Skipper . Obviously , Chalkhill Blues were the most numerous , but this second brood of Adonis , which is usually much larger than the first , will equal , or even dominate the Chalkhill .
Now I know that I haven't got a positive ID on the Sawfly that I posted yet , but today I spotted something drop down into the vegetation , and I went and investigated . Once again , it was a good sized specimen measuring 2-2.5 cms. It wasn't till I got home and edited the shots , that I saw the colours of it's eyes . I haven't been able to do any research yet , but I'm putting my money on ' Big Rayband Fly' .


Warren Baker said...

A good trip out today greenie. Got your target species - and more! makes up for yesterday then ?

Anonymous said...

Wow, the eyes on that fly are out of this world. What a stunning species.

Another great variety of subjects, Greenie. Most of which are making me reel with envy.

ShySongbird said...

An incredible array of butterflies Greenie, I would love to see such a variety. I tried to look up the fly with the amazing eyes but couldn't find anything other than darned sunglasses!!!

Kingsdowner said...

Stunning bug-eyed bug! I hope you find out what it is and share the info.

Re Dodder, that's been a long-term target of mine, and I also found it yesterday! The flowers do rather give it away, while it's unremarkable for the rest of the year I suppose.

ShySongbird said...

Were you pulling my leg with the fly ID Greenie? If you were that would be why the only thing I could find under Rayband or Rayban was sunglasses!!! I'm feeling silly now :)

ShySongbird said...

I'm hoping for the last laugh now!! I think it is Tabanus Bovinus, see here

Kingsdowner said...

Well done, SSB!
Never trust Greenie, he's a meanie.