Friday, 28 May 2010

Friday 28th.May 2010

As the forecast for tomorrow is rain , I decided to do the High Elms butterfly transect today instead . On the way , I stopped off at the Common for a look around . I headed straight for the heathland area , checking on the Brimstone eggs that were laid some weeks ago . They were difficult to find , but , now that they are hatched , I looked for Buckthorn leaves that had been chomped , and it wasn't long before I found some . I found several of the well camouflaged a caterpillars on the eaten leaves , some , like the one pictured above , were well on the way to the next stage of their growth . I shall look for the chrysalises again , but I have yet to find one , as they look like a leaf . Just one butterfly , a male Common Blue was recorded , but moths did much better , with lots of Common Heath , a male with feathery antennae pictured , a couple of Speckled Yellows and several Mother Shipton were recorded . Although one LTTit's nest was predated , at least one of the others were successful , with a family of the same feeding on the Gorse . Back at the car park , I found Wood Avens/Herb Bennet-Geum urbanum , having just come into flower .
The transect at High Elms started slowly , with the day flying moth Burnet Companion being the most numerous on the wing . Eventually , the butterfly species began to show up , and it was soon obvious that Common Blues had exploded since my last visit , with 5 females , 2 of them egg laying were recorded . Just before the fenced off section of the Conservation Field , I found my first Man Orchids of the year , and later found more on the Orchid Bank . The flower shows well how it got it's name . Also on the Conservation Field , a stunning Bird's Foot Trefoil caught my eye , showing how it gets it's common name Bacon and Eggs / Eggs and Bacon , depending on where you live . Mind you , it has about 50 other common names as well . By the time I had reached Burnt Gorse , the Burnet Companion had been well and truly pushed into second place , by hundreds of Garden Chafers-Phyllopertha horticola , they were everywhere . Another egg laying Green Hairstreak was found here , and whilst watching her , I noticed another female Common Blue , minding her own business , when a male flew in and made advances . They both flew high into the sky , and were soon joined by a second male , before returning to the ground . A lot of pushing and shoving went on , until one of the males managed to join with the female . The losing male and several others tried to oust the winner from his prize , but together , after several flights , they found some peace and quiet , and got on with the matter in hand .A check on the Birds Nest Orchids revealed still 2 at the original site , an increase to 36 at the new site and another single , bringing the total up to 41. Heading back towards the car , a single Peacock , one of the last overwintering specimens , was found . In all , 11 species were recorded - Dingy Skipper (13) , Common Blue (54 including 5 females , 2 egg laying , and a mating pair ) , Green-veined White (5) , Green Hairstreak (5 including 2 egg laying females ) , Grizzled Skipper (1) , Large White (3) , Speckled Wood (2) , Small Copper (2) , Small White (1) , Brimstone (1) and Peacock (1) .
After lunch , I had an hour at Spring Park Pond , but will write that up tomorrow , whilst it's raining .

3 comments:

Dean said...

Great set of Pics, Greenie.

Rob said...

On the IoW today we've got that rain you forecast, Greenie.
The Brimstone caterpillar is effectively camouflaged - I'll look out for that one.

Warren Baker said...

Another Green Hairstreak. I'm doomed to failure with this species Greenie! How long have I got till they all disappear?