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.

4 comments:

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

Rambling Rob 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.

Dean 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

http://www.bugsandweeds.co.uk/bugs.html

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