Another horrible morning of weather , but we got off lightly compared to further South , where heavy rain fell , whereas we had light rain / drizzle . It had stopped by lunchtime but the skies remained grey and the temperature cool .
I dropped Carol in town to do some shopping , and to get some air , I headed to Spring Park pond , admittedly , not expecting to find much . Without sun , just a few Azure and Large Red Damselflies were recorded , along with a single Broad Bodied Chaser , motionless on the emergent vegetation . In amongst the stalks of the Purple Loosestrife , I found a large Crane Fly , sheltering from the elements . Looking it up , the two long veins on the back of the wing , identified it as Tipula maxima . In the fenced enclosure , the Creeping Thistle is almost in flower , but already there is the Hedge Woundwort-Stachys sylvatica , another Labiate , with it's almost Orchid type flowers . As I left the enclosure , I noticed a small bird , searching the Bramble , then flying off to the corner of the field by the Ranger's office . I set up the tripod and waited , and the small bird turned out to be a Common Whitethroat , and obviously with young , as both parents were backwards and forwards with food . I had seen/ heard the male on most visits , and it is good that they have been successful , especially as a path from one of the car parks passes 5 mtrs from the nest site . In the surrounding vegetation , two Ladybirds were found . One was the native 7 Spot , and the other , one of the alien Harlequin species that have invaded over the last few years . This species is very variable in colour and numbers of spots , but the identifying 'M' or 'W' or 'Batman cloak' marking on the head , is about the most reliable clue .
Also in the vegetation , were lots of Shield Bugs , this one being Coreus marginatus-Dock Leaf Bug . Also , lots of immature Meadow Grasshoppers , with antennae shorter than their body , as with most Grasshoppers , and immature Roesel's Bush-Crickets , with antennae longer than their body , as with most Crickets . No butterflies at all were recorded , and just a few Longhorn moths . Amongst the Stinging Nettles , I found a Weevil-Phyllobius pomaceus , which is in fact a black insect , but covered with greenish scales . Very close by , were several specimens of the Ichneumon-Amblyteles armatorius . My attempts of a shot of this colourful insect with wings open failed miserably . Then finally some butterflies , well nearly . Amongst the same Nettles , the caterpillars of the Peacock butterfly , having hatched from the eggs laid by an overwintering female that mated in the Spring . Below them , is their home , a silken web . There was a second web close by , and it would be nice to think that all the caterpillars will become butterflies , but from 50 caterpillars , only 1 or 2 will make it to adulthood .
Heading back to the car , a pair of Mistle Thrushes landed and started looking for food on the sports field , but , with the 100 mm. lens on , I couldn't get close enough for a decent shot .
1 day ago