Sunday, 2 August 2009

Sunday 2nd.August 2009

Just a quick post before heading off for a family get together .
Did the Down House Bird Survey this morning , and I wondered at the end if it was worth it with just 14 species , good job Warren's away , being recorded , and the best of a poor bunch being a Mistle Thrush .
Just as well that there were other things to look at . In the walled vegetable garden , I found a small moth that I usually see on downland , Pyrausta purpualis , soaking up the morning sun . Further along the border was a small bee feeding on Evening Primrose flowers , but with very swollen red femurs . I haven't seen it before , and wondered if anyone else has ? Once I got out into the fields , it was obvious that there had been a large emergence of Small Coppers .
Every single stand of Creeping Thistle seemed to have aerial duels between males , disputing ownership . I recorded 13 specimens whilst doing the Bird Survey , but had I been surveying butterflies , I would have probably found 2/3 times as many . Meadow Browns were still the most numerous species , and they are still mating . I was surprised to find a fresh looking male Marbled White , the only one recorded today , he must have got his timing wrong , and missed his chance of mating . The full list was , Meadow Brown (78) , Gatekeeper (27) , Marbled White (1) , Large White (7) ,Small White (10) , Green Veined White (1) , Comma (4) , Peacock (5) , Small Copper (13) ,Speckled Wood (2) , Small Skipper (5) , Common Blue (14) , Brown Argus (3) and Painted Lady (18) , making 14 , the same number of butterfly species as bird species recorded .
I didn't really have the time , but decided to call in at High Elms , for a quick look for White-
letter Hairstreak . When I got to the Silver Washed Fritillary area , I came across Peter Kirby , Conservation Officer for Butterfly Conservation , Kent Branch , and his family , engrossed in photographing the female SWFs egg laying . After a quick chat , I left them to it and headed for the Orchid Bank . On arrival at the stand of Hemp Agrimony there were several male and female SWFs nectaring , and attempting to mate . There were Peacock , Red Admiral , Comma , Large White and a single White-letter Hairstreak , hidden amongst all the coming and going . An absolutely pristine male , probably emerged this morning , with his tails , those little extensions behind the orange markings in perfect condition . So my worst fears that they didn't breed last year have gone , and hopefully , more of this species will be found in the next few days . This species gets it's name from the white letter 'W' on the underwing .

8 comments:

Phil and Mandy said...

I can see mine was a meadow brown now Greenie after looking at yours. Thanks

ShySongbird said...

Some great sightings there Greenie, I have never seen the moth before and the Small Coppers are lovely photos.

Kingsdowner said...

Good news on the white-letter hairstreak. Nice shot too.
Bird count quite pathetic however.

Ken Browne. said...

Hi Greenie. Nice days Butterfly count, shame you was doing birds though,still these things have to be done.Whether you saw 14 or 40 species their all important. I don't expect Warren will read this, he's probably too busy on the Welsh moors with the sheep.
As for the Bee, very unusual, can't find that one anywhere, but is I do I will post it.The moth photo, well I have never seen one before,,it's a good looking one. Hope you behaved yourself at the family get together.

Adam said...

Great to hear you got your WLH - really thought they were going to pass you by this year!

Adam

Rambling Rob said...

Hi Greenie, Is the red on the bee's legs down to the colour of whichever pollen it has been stuffing into its pollen baskets? Anything with red pollen in the area?

Dean said...

I best check for WLH`s on my patch. Although i haven`t seen for a couple of years now.

Another great post, Greenie.

Greenie said...

Rob ,
It's femurs , although not in the shot as it was constantly on the move , seemed translucent , as if filled with a coloured liquid .
Can't think of anything out of the ordinary/red pollen , in the area.