Firstly a big 'Thank you' to Orchids and Nature , and Shysongbird , for both identifying the floating water plant as Aponogeton distacyos-Water Hawthorn , as I thought , an alien invader , this time from South Africa .
Amongst a lot of rushing around today , I managed two visits , one either side of lunch , and both in beautiful sunshine , so welcome after all the recent rain and cloud . The first was a quick look up on the Common . The Hornets are still busy , but at a slower rate , and I'm sure I saw another Queen at the entrance to the nest . Butterflies were few , just 2 Small Copper and a single Speckled Wood . I had several sightings of male Vapourer moth , but once again , never saw one land . I did disturb a Plume moth-Platyptilia celidotus , I believe , and when it settled again , it allowed a few shots . The only other interest was a lichen , on the heathland area . It is Cladonia cristatella , but I prefer the second of it's two common names , British Soldier Lichen or Devil's Matches . The after lunch visit was to the farm lake , which was much fuller following the rain . I thought the Mandarins might have settled here as it is very close to Keston Ponds , but there was no sign , just the usual Coots , Moorhens , Little Grebes and 4 Tufted Ducks . I've posted a shot of the latter , as some Bloggers don't see many Tufties . Walking round the lake , I only recorded a single Comma , sunning itself on the warm side of a hedge . There was though , quite a good emergence of Caddisflies-Trichoptera , and one stayed still long enough to get a few shots . As things were quiet , I did a lap of the harvested field above the lake , and from the very top of the hill took this shot of London through the Autumn haze .It reminded me of pictures I've seen of New York , from Central Park . The tall building right of centre is the NatWest Tower and to the right of it , the Gerkin , and Canary Wharf further right again . On my way back to the lake , I found Shaggy Parasol-Lepiota rhacodes in the shade of the hedgeline . I did another lap of the lake , and found 3 Migrant Hawkers , all males , sunning themselves , when not fighting aerial battles . As has been the case for some time now , the most numerous dragonfly found was the Common Darter with 15+ recorded , and even a couple of pairs egglaying in tandem . Some males still had good colouring , but several were like this one , described as over mature , with the abdomen going a browny/beige colour , and the wings become yellowish . On the way home , there was a large , mixed , Corvid flock in the horse fields alongside the bottom lane , which contained a good number of Rooks , a species that was not found locally until a few years ago . It was interesting to have a size comparison between one and the more numerous Jackdaw .
3 hours ago