Thursday, 27 August 2009

Thursday 27th.August 2009

After a cool cloudy morning , the sun broke through at lunchtime , and heralded a reasonable afternoon , albeit quite windy . I headed off to Fackenden Down , to do a Reptile and Butterfly survey . For once , the weather stayed good during the whole visit to the site , but obviously the gusty wind was going to make butterfly spotting quite a problem . I headed off to turn tins , and was rewarded with a Slow Worm under the second felt . Things then went quiet reptile wise , but the butterflies , although many looking very worn now , kept the interest ticking over . I recorded the first of two Adders , an immature female , about a quarter of the way round , then
it went quiet again . By the time I got to the far end of the reserve , the wind was even stronger , and the only butterflies found in those conditions , were tucked down well in the grass . It was noticeable the lack of Burnet Moths on this visit compared to last . Right down in the bottom corner , I recorded the second Adder , another female , but adult this time , and with her under the felt was another Slow Worm . In the shelter of a hedge , along the bottom track , I found the first of three Brimstones recorded on the site . It was only that it was out of the wind that a shot was possible . By three quarters of the way round , I thought , that's it , there will be nothing else about , when a flash of yellow passed me at great speed , carried on the wind , another Clouded Yellow . I watched it being buffeted by the wind , and being blown to the ground some way off . I kept an eye on the spot and made my way to it . After a bit of searching around , I found it down amongst the grass . Eventually , it took to the wing again , and then stopped to nectar on a variety of plants , but the favourite seemed to be the Small Scabious , which was no good for photographs , as it was all over the place in the wind . It also settled on Black Knapweed , and being a bit more sturdy , allowed a few shots . When I got home and looked at the shots , a good two thirds had to be dumped as they were blurred to some degree or another due to the wind .
Birds were few and far between as well , but a singing Chiffchaff , what appeared to be a family of Bullfinches and a Kestrel , looking for a meal , did put in an appearance .
In all , 12 species of butterfly were recorded , as I said before , many well worn , being :- Meadow Brown (81) ,Painted Lady (1) , Small White (1) , Large White (4) , Common Blue (57) , Brown Argus (26) , Clouded Yellow (1) , Speckled Wood (5) , Small Heath (13) , Chalkhill Blue ( 17) , Gatekeeper (5) and Brimstone (3) .
Just one more Slow Worm was recorded , making a total of 3.
And finally , remember these two ?I have spent hours trying to identify these two insects , but in the end , I had to get some professional help . The first one is indeed a Sawfly , Cimbex femoratus , one of the Birch Sawflies . My informant tells me that he has only ever seen one adult of this species ever .
The second , is a fly , classed very near Hoverflies , of the Conopidae family , Physocephala rufipes . They are parasitoids of Bees and Wasps . Both species are very secretive , and are therefor , seldom seen .
Now , we can all sleep soundly .


Warren Baker said...

At least you got some sort od pics today greenie! That wind wasn't really strong, just annoyingly constant, blah, blah, blah...

Kingsdowner said...

Glad to see that the irruption of clouded yellows continues (ahem). That's the first I've heard of for a while now.
Next year maybe?

Ken Browne. said...

Hi Greenie.
Nice count of Butterflies today.At least the wind on your patch didn't stop you getting a few photo's.Nice pictures.

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear you got the un-id`d ones sorted, Greenie.
It does niggle at you, when you don`t kow what something is.

Anonymous said...

That Conopid fly has some pretty extreme architecture, Greenie.
Not sure I can sleep soundly knowing that Sawfly is out there somewhere.

ShySongbird said...

Great to get the butterflies in spite of the wind and good to see Adders doing well greenie.

I have a Brimstone to put on my next post, I was hoping there might be a Clouded Yellow too but I have a horrible feeling it may be another Brimstone with the light making it look different. I will nip over and ask for your help (if you don't mind) when I post (it won't be for some days) as I think I may be in a muddle with Blues as well!

Oh yes I certainly remember that first face only too well! I spent hours on it! I am still confused though as I have looked on google at Cimbex femoratus and, with the exception of two photos which do look exactly like yours, all the others show a much, much darker fly, could it be the sexes vary or does the fly's appearance change at different stages of its existence?