After 3 days of volunteering , it was good to get out today . The plan was to do the full 2 hour Butterfly transect at High Elms , but on the way , I stopped at the Farm Lake to see if there were any signs of damselflies . Walking around the bank , one of the first things I found were a few flowers of Ragged Robin , swaying in the breeze . The majority of the flowers were in bud , but it was nice to see the odd few in bloom . A wasp type , which I think might be a Social Wasp species was the next to catch my eye , and although I have tried to identify it since getting home , I have so far been unsuccessful . I also found the first of what will be large numbers of grasshoppers on the site and another of the Snipe Flies-Rhagio scolopacea . Along with the large number of St.Mark's Flies around the lake , there was a lesser number of Alder Flies-Sialis lutaria . I found no sign of damselfies , so headed for High Elms to do the transect , stopping first at the dipping pond , where I found this drake Mallard looking comfortable on an uncomfortable hand rail to the dipping platform . The 2 hour transect produced 5 butterflies in reasonable conditions , 3 Speckled Wood , 1 Peacock and one Green-veined White . Neither Burnt Gorse or the Orchid Bank managed a single species . When I got home , I checked back on last year's records , and on the 11th. , I had 47 butterflies of 12 species .
Close to the Golf Course , another of the large Speedwell family , Thyme-leaved-Veronica serpyllifolia was found down amongst the grass . There may have been no butterflies on the Orchid Bank , but I did find my first Fly Orchid-Ophrys insectifera of the year , not yet in bloom , but already one flower spike has come to grief .
On the way back home for lunch , I was pleased to see that the House Martins have returned to their usual nest site in Shire Lane . I couldn't stop for long on the narrow lane , but I saw at least three nests being used , so there could well be more , which is good news . I managed one quick shot , just as an adult was entering the nest . Will have to return and get the timing better .
After lunch , the skies opened , and I had an hour up on the Common . Not a lot happening , but in the middle of the heathland , in the same area as the Blackcap , Chiffchaff and LTTit are nesting , I found this Common Whitethroat , proclaiming his territory from on high . I watched him for some time coming and going , and at one point , caught sight of what I thought could be
'the wife' . My suspicions were further confirmed , when just before I left , he returned with a feather , and a smile on his face , having just earned a few 'brownie points' .
18 hours ago