Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Wednesday 12th.August 2009

In reasonable sunshine , I set off this morning , to a site near Gatwick Airport , with a single target species in mind , Brown Hairstreak . Whilst still on the M25 , looking westward , clouds were building , that I was assured by weather reports would be North of London . I arrived in sultry sunshine and very humid , maybe it will work out I thought . I got to the area of Blackthorn , the foodplant of the target species , and waited . Some movement was seen in the Ash ( master) tree behind , but the only positive ID of these was a Purple Hairstreak . After a while , the back of the neck was aching , so I went to see what was on the flowers by the side of a small river . Hover flies of all sorts were in good numbers , including the Marmalade Hover Fly , seen here nectaring on Gypsywort . Also around was Helophilus pendulus ,Syrphus ribesii - No it's not , it's Myathropa florea - thanks again Dean ,and a large hairy fly , Tachina fera , posted by Rob/Wight Rambler , the other day .

I also had breaks walking along the small river , and it was there that I found this juvenile

Kestrel , I think . There were two sitting side by side , but one must have seen the camera coming out , and flew off to assist it's parent who was arguing with a Carrion Crow . Another spell at the Blackthorn , followed by another spell at the flowers . This time , I found a freshly emerged Small Tortoiseshell nectaring on the Water Mint . When I returned about half an hour later , it was still there . Whilst photographing one of the species that I haven't identified yet , I'll tack them on the end , I saw my first Conehead , but decided to carry on with what I was doing , it will still be there when I'm finished , I thought . Well it wasn't , but later on I found juvenile male Long Winged Conehead , and almost immediately , a juvenile female , with ovipositor .By 12.30 , the cloud was well thick , and no sign of breaking up . I hadn't done badly though , with 15 species of butterfly , but no Brown Hairstreak , a pair of Bullfinches and about 10 House Martins overhead , Brown Hawker and Common Darter , hawking for insects over the Blackthorn patch , and either Chub or Dace seen in the river . As it was still early , and I was well West already , I decided to visit the site in deepest Surrey , to see if I could have better luck with reptiles . After a long walk from the car park , I arrived at the heathland area , in need of a long drink . This done , I started looking , for the rarest of the three snakes in the country , the Smooth Snake . The best I have done on the site , is seen two on a visit last year . By the time I left at about 3 o'clock , I had seen 7 Smooth Snakes , unbelievable . Not only that , but I also saw four Adders , two males and two females , this being one of those females . I know I was pushing my luck , but I also had a look for Sand Lizards , but they are few and far between on the site , and some sun was needed to encourage
them out , but I was well happy with what I had seen .
I'm finishing off with the 3 species that I haven't identified . If anyone has any ideas , I'd be grateful .Above ID'd by Dean as Chrysotoxum bicinctum , thanks again Dean .Above identified by ShySongbird's Twitterings as an immature Pied Shieldbug , thanks very much Shysongbird .

This was the one I was photographing when I missed the adult female Conehead.


Warren Baker said...

I'll have to have a look for the BH on my patch, there is lots of Blackthorn.

Oh, and i'll keep a sharp eye out in the sky for any HB's

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the reptile score, Greenie. Those are three colourful unknowns - never seen any of them here. That last one is a shapely design - closest to it in my Collins Gem Insects is a Potter Wasp.

Anonymous said...

Greenie. Your ribesii is Myathropa florea, and the 1st one of the unidentified is Chrysotoxum bicinctum.
Sorry i can`t help with the other two.

ShySongbird said...

Hi Greenie, a great trip out and well done on the Smooth Snakes. I think your last but one photo is an immature Pied Shield Bug, see here

Scroll down the page to Pied Shield Bug and it shows the immature stages as well as the mature adult.