Monday, 7 September 2009

Monday 7th.September 2009

After spending the morning gardening with Carol , I headed off after lunch to get rid of the material that couldn't be shredded and composted at the Council waste/recycling site . I must admit that I also took my camera and binoculars , just in case the sun came out . And so it did , almost at exactly the time I was driving out of the site , so I headed for Keston Ponds , well , it was on the way home . The most noticeable thing on arrival was how low the water level has become . Even though water is still entering the top pond from 'Ceasar's Well' , a natural spring , and also the source of the River Ravensbourne . Just a couple of Mallard type and three Coot was all that was on the water . As well as the low level , the ponds are suffering from large quantities of Blanket Weed type growth . With little else of interest , it was nice to come across a member of the Daisy family , sounding like something out of a Sci-Fi movie , Trifid Bur Marigold . It is one of those plants that doesn't quite open , and this is as good as it gets . Also , still in bloom around the edges of the top pond is Common Figwort-Scrophularia nodosa , and was being visited by a variety of insects . Just as I was about to go down to the middle pond , I noticed a movement on the surface , and on closer attention , it turned out to be a female Brown Hawker , ovipositing on a piece of floating wood . She uses the same principle as the other Hawkers , but instead of inserting her egg into plant tissue , she chooses to use floating wood , if it is available , if not she will revert to the vegetation . Unfortunately the light was from behind her , but there was nothing I could do about that . I carried on taking shots , when another female landed on the same piece of wood , and back to back synchronised ovipositing began . To top it off , a male , who had probably mated with both females arrived , and patrolled over the top of them for a short while . Eventually a dog walker came by , and that was the last I saw of any of them . I also saw a few Damselflies , my first for a while , including this Blue Tailed and a

few Common Blue Damselflies . The other two ponds added a few more Mallard types and several Moorhen . On my way over to the bog area , I came across a stand of Honey Fungus- Armillaria mellea , on a stump of a dead tree . The bog did not live up to it's name today , as there was very little water about . What there was , was being used by two pairs of Common Darter ovipositing in tandem , with a couple of males watching . I was also 'buzzed' a couple of times by a male Southern Hawker . The Bog Asphodel has gone over now , but the stems and seed heads still give a colourful display , especially with Heather in the background . The only other thing of interest was a blue form , female Common Blue Damselfly , who , from the lack of any males seen , has probably missed the boat .
And finally , help please with two specimens . The first is one of two similar caterpillars , about 3/4 cms. in length , that I found floating , unintentionally I would say , in the top pond . They were both under a large Oak tree , from which they probably fell . This one was still moving , just , but the other was wrapped in the Blanket Weed , and I think was dead . Any ideas ?
The second specimen was this small moth , which I thought at first was one of those straw coloured ones that wraps itself around a stalk when it lands . But when this one landed on Bracken , I could see a faint pattern on it's wings , length about 1.5/2 cms. Any ideas ?


Dean said...

Greenie. The caterpillar is a Buff-tip & the moth looks like one of the Pyralid family. I`ll check it out later.

Dean said...

Hi, Greenie. Your moth is one of the migrant pyralids : Rush Veneer.

ShySongbird said...

Very interesting post as always Greenie. It seems to be a bumper year where I live for fungi, we even have a Giant Puffball in the garden! I was about to try and ID your caterpillar and moth when I thought I should check your comments and saw Dean had already done so, I don't think I would ever have managed the moth and not too sure I would have managed the caterpillar either!

Thanks very much for all your help with my butterfly IDs, I am kicking myself now as I clearly remember saying 'I think this may be a Brown Argus' as I took the photos but by the time I got home and started looking up male and female blues I had forgotten my first instinct! At least I got the Siver-spotted Skipper right :)

Thanks again Greenie.

Warren Baker said...

The whole countryside is dried out Greenie! It's not been a hot summer as predicted, but it's been very dry. The leaves on the tree's look a right state, have you noticed ? ( not just 'cause its Autumn! )