Thursday, 24 September 2009

Thursday 24th.September 2009

I couldn't describe today better than the way Warren of Pittswood Birds described it opening his Blog 'today was a day stolen from Summer' , perfectly put .
We had visitors this afternoon , so I had to make the most of a couple of hours before lunch and after a bit of shopping , headed for the farm lake . It was cool on arrival , and I didn't hold out too much hope of finding much , but the sun soon got to work and started to warm things up . I disturbed a Grey Heron from the corner of the lake as I arrived , and it was birds that made up most of the interest early on . A Sparrowhawk coming over the woods was soon set upon by the resident Corvids and 'escorted to the parish boundary' , to quote the Blogger mentioned earlier .
Nothing really great was recorded but 21 species , topped by Green Woodpecker , Linnet , Nuthatch and Rose Ringed Parakeet , was a reasonable haul for the small site . Just 5 butterflies , each a different species , was all that was recorded today , but the Brown Argus found , a female , was egg laying as if there was no tomorrow , flitting from here to there , laying , then resting , before starting to lay again . She seemed not to notice me following her , and after several attempts , managed to get a shot of her in the act , the tip of her abdomen depositing next year's generation . I found several of the eggs after she had moved on , tiny little specks of white against the green leaf . Eventually she disappeared , probably having layed all her eggs , and hopefully to get a rest . The other species recorded were Speckled Wood , Meadow Brown , Large White and Comma . The rising temperature encouraged the Odonata to emerge . Just two species were recorded , 3 Migrant Hawkers , all males , one of them showing the damage inflicted when two males clash in mid air over territory , but it made no difference to his flying ability , as they were still squabbling , even though there wasn't a female present . The Common Darters were much much more numerous , with 35/50 recorded , and the majority were either mating or egg laying in tandem . One particular spot seemed to be very popular , as I found three pairs in 'the ring' , within 25 cms. of each other , top right , bottom left and just right
I just had time for a quick look at Keston Ponds , and found the same situation with the Common Darters , with about the same number recorded . About 10 Common Blue Damselflies , a single Brown Hawker , and this male Southern Hawker , which gave me a good looking over , even attempting to snatch a yellow logo from my camera bag . I didn't go down to the bottom pond as tree surgeons were working down there , and the Mandarins would have made themselves scarce . Walking back to the car , what looked like a leaf , blowing on the ground , on closer inspection turned out to be a moth , lying on it's back , with a Common Wasp looking as if it was eating it . If it was , I know it happens in nature , but I like moths better than Wasps , so i flicked it off with a stick , and turned the moth over . It turned out to be a male , identified by the feathery antennae , but that is as far as I have got . But I do know a man who might be able to help !
And 'the man' , Dean/mostlymacro , once again came up trumps , identifying the moth as a Feathered Thorn , thanks very much Dean .


Warren Baker said...

Hi Greenie,

Thanks for advertising my blog!

I didn't see any butterflies today - apart from a single clouded yellow.
Unfortunately all the grass, hedges and verges have been cut, so there's not a lot of cover left!

PS Mandarin and and RN parakeet would go down very nicely over here.

Anonymous said...

"But I do know a man who might be able to help" !

If you`re referring to me, Greenie, then your moth is a Feathered Thorn.

PS : forget Warren, and send the Mandarin & RNP in my direction ;-)

ShySongbird said...

Oh darn it!! I successfully IDd (honestly!) the Feathered Thorn last evening Greenie but after getting the caterpillar wrong I didn't have the courage of my convictions! I looked at dozens of photos on the internet of the Feathered Thorn and was sure I was right but just didn't have the confidence to say so!!

It was a beautiful day yesterday here too but due to other commitments :( I wasn't able to take advantage of it so hope the weather holds over the weekend.

Glad you are still seeing butterflies and dragonflies, I shall miss them in the Winter.

I would be happy if you sent anything at all from that list up my way ;)