Saturday, 24 April 2010

Saturday 24th.April 2010

My heart couldn't stand another round of 'Adder dancing' , so this morning , I decided to do the second full butterfly transect at High Elms , which takes about 2 hours . Although the sun was well up , it was still chilly at 10 o'clock , but I pushed on . On the edge of the Golf Course , I found a large Peacock , which I assumed was a female , acting very strangely on an area of Nettles . She , was fluttering from Nettle to Nettle , as if she was intent on egg laying , but then just sat , wings fully open , basking in the sun , before moving on to another Nettle , and doing the same again . I left her to make her mind up . Further along , on the chalk grassland , I spotted a plant amongst the Cowslips and Primroses , that was neither one or the other . The flowers said Primrose , but the multi flowered stems said Cowslip . The Primrose produces it's flowers , one per stalk , and the Cowslip produces flowers that are much smaller , and never open as fully as the Primrose . This was an Oxlip-Primula elatior , the first that I have recorded on the site . The butterflies were slow coming , but the odd Orange Tip and Brimstone was recorded . Getting to Burnt Gorse , I was hoping again for Dingy or Grizzled Skipper , and again left disappointed , but an aerial battle around the Wayfarer tree , that seems to be prime real estate , alerted me to a pair of male Green Hairstreaks , deciding who owned it . Following these small butterflies is really difficult , so , I was glad when the winner took his place on the rostrum , to survey all he owned , whilst I got a shot of him . Nothing else earth-shattering was recorded , and I finished up with Peacock (5) , Small White (1) ,Orange Tip (6-all male) ,Brimstone (3) , Green Hairstreak (5) and Comma (1) . Not a lot I know , but better than the big fat 0 recorded on my first transect .
On the way home , I called in at the Common , and as there were no female Brimstones egg laying , had a look for their efforts . In a very short period of time , I found 7 eggs , in the picture , the creamy cylinder on the right hand leaf , all laid on the tender young leaves of the Buckthorn , first meal waiting for the caterpillars when they hatch out . as I walked back to the car , it got me thinking about the Purple Hairstreak eggs , that were laid on Oak buds , back last Summer . Some will have survived predation and all the Winter threw at them , and now that the Oak buds are just about to burst , will hatch out shortly , eat the fresh leaves , and hopefully appear on this blog in July/August , to start the whole cycle all over again . In the car park itself , Common Comfrey is coming into flower , but I couldn't work out what the yellow substance was on the leaf . I thought at first it might be eggs , but under an eye glass , it didn't seem so , more like a mould of some sort . The warmer days has also brought into flower Jack by the Hedge or Garlic Mustard-Alliaria petiolata , which is used as a foodplant , along with Cuckoo Flower , by the Orange Tip butterfly .
During the morning , I came across a pair of male Speckled Woods , disputing the ownership of a sunny glade . One of several attempted shots of the frenetic battle almost froze the battle , but not quite . The second Speckled Wood is just above the Holly leaf .


Warren Baker said...

Amazing that those P. Hairstreak eggs have not only survived the weather, but all those hungry LT Tits!! cant wait to see them hatched out!

Anonymous said...

I like the duelling Speckled Woods.
You've got a keen eye to find those butterfly eggs.

Anonymous said...

A keen eye indeed, Greenie. Oh and well done on finding those Oxlips.

John Young said...

Hi Fred, catching up on your blog, some great sightings. Inspirational stuff. John

Steve said...

Really like the Speckled Wood shot Fred - must get the Skippers this week!