Good to get out today , just walking and looking , and especially without the noise of a strimmer . I headed first to the farm lake , as I hadn't visited for some time . Already it was very warm and the humidity was rising by the minute . Not many birds about , even on the water , just Coots , Moorhens and Little Grebes . Swallows were feeding over the fields , and regularly dropping in to skim a drink from the surface . A female Yellowhammer also dropped in for a bath amongst the emergent vegetation . Not many Dragonflies either , just 3 Emperor , 3 Brown Hawker and a small count of 20+ Common Darter , including several pairs in the ring . New emergent Common Darters around the lake numbered 15+ . Even Damselflies were few , with 35+ Common Blue and the odd Azure being recorded . Butterflies did better , with 8 species recorded , Painted Lady (3) , Small White (2) , Common Blue (9) , Meadow Brown (8) , Brown Argus (2) , Gatekeeper (25+) , Red Admiral (1) and Small Copper (1) . On my second lap of the lake , I came across , what I first thought was a very large Hovver Fly , much bigger than Volucella zonaria , the large one that I have been finding quite regularly . When I got closer , I realised that it wasn't a Hovver Fly , because it had two pairs of wings . It was obviously warming up in the sun , and looked as if it would be off any moment . I managed 3 more shots , before it took off , flying , not like a fly , but more like a Chaffer . Its legs and the way it moved on the vegetation also was very much like a Chaffer . I have checked my book ( Collins Insects) since coming home, but cannot find anything like it . Before trawling through images on the web , I wondered if anyone has any ideas ? It was about 3cms. in length .
From the lake , I headed to High Elms . As usual , on the way to Burnt Gorse , I checked the 2 Violet Helleborines , and found that the topmost flowers are now open on both . Hopefully , plenty of seed will drop , and provide even more plants in the future . For once , I reached the Orchid Bank in full sun , and eagerly checked the Hemp Agrimony on the end , only to be disappointed to find not a single WLH . A check of the other stands of Hemp Agrimony , produced lots of Peacocks , Silver Washed Fritillaries and Commas , but it wasn't till the last but one stand that I found a WLH , and that was a tatty looking specimen . Another tatty one was found on my return trip , which gets me thinking that these tatty specimens must be emerging elsewhere in the woods , and coming to the Hemp Agrimony to nectar . A third was found , condition unknown , as it flew high into the trees on seeing me , I have that effect on many things . Whilst searching , I came across a female Large Skipper , that shouldn't be around now , at least not in this condition . Normally , they are finishing their flight time , but no one told this one . She was on the Marjoram on the left as I took the shot , but in the millisecond , flew to the flowers on the right , leaving me with another lucky shot of her in flight . A species that I haven't seen much this year , Red Admiral , paid a visit to the Hemp Agrimony , and provided a nice underwing shot . Just before leaving the Orchid Bank , I spotted a zig-zag flight of a small butterfly , and managed to follow it , as it landed . It turned out to be the 4th. WLH of the day , and this one was in pristine condition , but insisted on tunnelling into the ground vegetation . I know I didn't see the large one seen the other day , nor do I think the 2 tatty ones were the ones I saw the other day either , so things are looking up for WLH . SWF activity seemed subdued today , but several males and even more females were seen today , mostly nectaring , but 3 of the females were doing their duty . A surprise find in the small glade was a pair of Conical Wax Caps-Hygrocybe conica . On Burnt Gorse , 3 freshly emerged Small Coppers were recorded . Down at the bottom of the slope , where the Buckthorn is thickest , and where I watched the female egg laying earlier in the year , several , freshly emerged , male and female Brimstones were found .
The paler , almost white female , lacking the sulphur yellow of the male , but both sporting that distinctive , leaf shaped wing . By two o'clock , the sun was starting to get milky , and by the time I got home , it had disappeared .
3 hours ago