Friday, 2 October 2009

Friday 2nd.October 2009

The bird survey at Down House was due , so that is where I headed , and fortunately , the weather was improving all the time . Although chilly to start , the sun shone throughout the visit . That probably helped with a better end result that the last couple of visits . Not a single Summer visitor , or come to that , a single Winter visitor was recorded . 23 species were recorded , with nothing exceptional amongst them . The best of the bunch being 4 Mistle Thrush , 3 Nuthatch and 7 Rose Ringed Parakeet . I did have a fly over of five large Finches , calling continually , and I got brick red on two of them . They didn't stop , but I'm reasonably sure they were Crossbills , but I am not 100% sure , so I will not be recording them .
Incidentally , I half heard a report on the radio this morning , that although a protected species , Parakeets can be shot starting next year . I haven't heard the report again and haven't been able to confirm it , but I'm sure that was what was said . Having experienced them in the area for many years , I have often said that once they spread into the fruit growing areas , they would be treated like the Bullfinch was many years ago , because of their destructive habit of sitting in the tops of trees and ripping out the buds .

Around the Sandwalk , where Darwin mulled over his thoughts , I found some Armillaria mellea-Honey Fungus , but the dry warm weather is certainly holding things up , as this area is usually very good for several species . Also on the side of the path , is what is left of the Violet Helleborine that I posted back in the Summer . Now all that remains are the seed pods , hopefully these will provide more plants in the years to come . Around the cricket field , are many Hawthorn trees , but this one stands out from all the others , producing marble sized Hawes , and much fewer leaves that the normal ones . I had hoped that I might have had another Clouded Yellow on my visit , but the meadows have been 'topped' since my last visit , and what flower there was has gone , leaving nothing to attract butterflies . I always have a second look around the walled vegetable garden before leaving , and found this small Small Copper , nectaring on Michaelmas Daisies . It was tiny , and also one of the blue spotted variants . Apart from this , just a single Painted Lady , warming up , high in a hedgerow , and two Hornets hunting insects , were the only other interest .
After lunch , after doing a few calls in the town , I stopped off at Spring Park Pond , on my way home . My first sighting was this caterpillar , found on the leaves of Yellow Flag Iris . I have looked through the images , and the only one that I can find is the Yellow Tailed moth , but , the flight time does not match . Any help would be appreciated .With thanks , once again , to ShySongbird/Shysongbird's Twitterings , the caterpillar has been identified as that of the Knot Grass moth . A species that I have never heard of , and a very drab adult resulting from a very colourful caterpillar . Personally , I think 'SS' should be changed from 'ShySongbird' to 'Super Sleuth' , another great ID effort , thank you very much .Walking around the pond , I also disturbed a male Southern Hawker , that went into a few manic laps , before settling back at rest . As I was photographing this one , another movement , to my left , produced a second male . Walking further round , numbers 3 , 4 and 5 appeared , and continual aerial battles ensued . Added to this , 20+ Common Darter , mostly males , eager to defend their territory , it sometimes seemed like WW3 had started . I moved on to the small sheltered meadow , and was surprised to find , after yesterday's fresh female Brown Argus , a fresh male of the same species .
Fresh was not the word to describe my next find , a very tatty male Common Blue , the wings of which were almost see through , and well camouflaged on some late Bramble flowers . Along with these two , I recorded another 4 Small Copper , 1 Comma and 2 Small , 2 Large and 1 Green Veined White . On the edge of the meadow I had yet another male Vapourer moth , that only just evaded being a meal for yet another male Southern Hawker .
Tomorrow is the last day hedgelaying at Leith Hill , will it produce a Raven ?


Warren Baker said...

I hope it won't be a free for all on the parakeets! Surely a licence will have to be sought.

Well done with all the butterflies greenie, and the probable Crossbills!

Anonymous said...

It said on the news this morning that it would be a free for all, and that no license would be necessary.

Once again, i`m stumped by the caterpillar.

ShySongbird said...

I hadn't heard about the Parakeets Greenie but I think it is absolutely disgusting!

Lovely to still see so many butterflies. Could the caterpillar be the Knotgrass?

See here but you will need to scroll down to near the end of the page.

Warren Baker said...

Yep - a total washout today greenie! you'll be stuck indoors now then with that crook wrist - have to send in reports of the famous bird feeders!

ShySongbird said...

Very sorry to read on Warren's post of your wrist problem Greenie, I hope it soon improves. I am missing your great posts.

Thanks very much for the acknowledgement, strangely enough I managed to ID it very quickly although I admit like you I had never heard of it. I would still love to solve the mystery one from a few weeks ago but have exhausted all my usual sources, I thought I had found a really comprehensive book on caterpillars but unfortunately it is out of print!

Orchids and Nature said...

Found your blog through visiting Rambling Robs site. I'm a little envious of you because of your fabulous orchid finds in your previous posts. I'll be visiting and following your posts with great interest.

ShySongbird said...

Congratulations on your new grandchild Greenie and just in case you don't manage a post before Friday I hope you have a wonderful visit to New Zealand!

Simon said...

Greenie, well done with the probable Crossbills - it is about this time of year when I sometimes get 1 in Mote Park.

You are right with the Parakeets, and I believe a licence will not be needed either. I also heard that Herring Gulls, Crows, Magpies, & Canada and Egyptian Geese will also be aloud to be shot as well!!