Friday, 25 September 2009

Friday 25th.September 2009

Firstly , a big ' Thank You ' to ShySongbird / ShySongbirds Twitterings , who , with a little more self conviction , would have beaten 'The Man ' , to identifying the Feathered Thorn that I asked for help with last night . Like ShySongbird , I looked at lots of images of moths both before and after posting , but did not come up with the answer Thank You again Shy Songbird for your effort .
Yet another day 'stolen from Summer' , I really like that phrase , it describes today's weather perfectly . Carol wanted some help , doing some heavy cutting back in the garden , and as I wanted some dinner tonight , I said I would be only too happy to help , so I only got out this morning . I headed straight for the Common , to see how the Wasp Spider was getting on . I found her easily enough , but it appeared that she had been to Weightwatchers , as she was much smaller in the abdomen . Then , I spotted why , she had constructed her egg sack , and as it was sealed at the top , I assume that she had already laid her eggs . Looking like a hot air balloon , and suspended by a criss-cross web amongst the Heather , this egg sack contains the continuance of the species as far as she is concerned , as , having mated , and then probably eaten the male , she will die over the Winter . Leaving her to finish her work , I found a specimen of an over mature Common Darter , resting on Bracken , Difficult to say whether a male or female , as they both go a dark beige/brown colour at this time . Next stop was right on the road crossing on the Common , where I first saw a Wasp Spider egg sack , two years ago . An old sack was found , but nothing fresh , until I came across another female , and from the size of her , she had not yet laid her eggs , and having made her web across a small track , enabled a full on shot . Also in the shot is the zig-zag (bottom centre) , that is part of the web spun by this species , but no one is sure of the purpose of it . Enjoying the sunshine , I headed for the Hornet's nest , to find a lot of activity around the entrance hole . Not so much coming and going , more excitement at the entrance . After a sort while , this enormous specimen , much bigger than any I have seen there , appeared at the entrance , I think it may be one of the future Queens , but cannot be sure . Shortly afterwards , the workers started taking an interest in me , so I backed off , in big strides . A little later , I spent quite some time trying to photograph a female Ichneumon type fly , without success , because she just would not keep still . Walking through the Heather on the heathland area , I was surprised to disturb yet another Clouded Yellow . This must be my 14/16th. sighting this year , and that number will be up with the Painted Lady sighting for the year . During my visit , I saw many male Vapourer moths , flying between Oak trees , probably looking for the non-flying females of the species . I never did manage to see one land , they just seemed to disappear into thin air , or over the tops of the trees .
On my way home , I stopped and had a look at a piece of rough headland around a harvested arable field . A lot of the time was spent trying to Identify a yellow Hawkbit/Hawkweed/Hawksbeard type specimen , which I still haven't managed to do . But I did find and identify , Small Toadflax-Chaenorthinum minus , a member of the Figwort family , Knotgrass-Polygonum aviculare , in flower , a member of the Dock family ,and Black Medick-Medicago lupulina , a member of the Pea family , identified from other similar species , by the minute point on the end of each leaflet .


Warren Baker said...

I had another Clouded yellow on my patch as well greenie, it was moving with some speed and purpose, NE.

ShySongbird said...

Thank you for your very kind words Greenie, they are very much appreciated.

Another extremely interesting post, I was reading about the Wasp Spider a few weeks ago, what a stunning looking creature it is. The one who has still to lay her eggs is a whopper! The amount of detail you are able to supply Greenie is, in my opinion, what sets you apart!

Another Clouded Yellow! I wasn't expecting that, you have done well with those. I enjoyed the photos too.

Warren Baker said...

Where are all the CY's going greenie!

Pete Woodruff said...

Hi 'Greenie'

I just saw your comment on Warren's blog re 500+ Clouded Yellow butterfly at Birling Gap in Sussex yesterday. Bearing in mind I'm from up here in the 'frozen north' this number sounds phenomenal to me at almost the end of September and I'd really appreciate confirmation of the record before my blog readers try to tell me I have finally gone off my head! Enjoyed reading your post today.


Pete (Bird2blog)

Greenie said...

Warren ,
The Clouded Yellow , like the Painted Lady , is a migrant species , and come over from the Continent and N.Africa . I would guess that a good breeding year there , means a good influx here , looking for food , but they will also breed here . Like the PL , they cannot survive our cold ,wet Winters . Unlike the PL , they will migrate back when conditions turn less suitable .

Pete ,
Have posted the info on your blog .

Anonymous said...

Hi Greenie, Glad the Wasp Spiders are setting up camp. Small Toadflax looks sweet - haven't seen that. A Clouded Yellow took me on some interesting laps of a landslide yesterday but would not settle for a photo!