Friday, 25 June 2010

Friday 25th.June 2010

As High Elms is only a stone's throw from Biggin Hill Airport , and High Elms Lane is used to bring all the traffic from the A.21 and M.25 to the air show , the whole area is a 'no-go' area for the weekend . With that in mind , I headed there today with two butterfly species in mind , White Admiral and Silver Washed Fritillary . I spent two and a half hours patrolling the areas favoured by these two species , and finished up with neither .
It wasn't all bad news though , as on Burnt Gorse , Small Skipper has emerged , the fourth and last but one Skipper , Essex to come , to be recorded on the site . Apart from obvious size , the identifying points are , no mottling on the wings and the lack of the club shaped antennae . I am posting a shot of the Large Skipper for comparison . The really hard work comes with the Essex Skipper , just a difference in the colour on the underside of the antennae between it and the Small . Apart from the Skippers , butterflies were hard to find , a few more Meadow Browns and the single Ringlet now joined by three more . Another of the lime loving chalk grassland plants , Agrimony-Agrimonia eupatoria , is coming into flower with it's yellow flowers , as the Bird's Foot Trefoil is already going over . An unexpected sighting on Burnt Gorse , was the RAF Memorial Flight , made up of the Wellington Bomber , with Hurricane above left and Spitfire below right . I hope I've got that right from memory , practicing for the weekend .
Leaving Burnt Gorse , I had another look in some of the favourite haunts , and came across this Longhorn Beetle on the leaves of Rosebay Willowherb . It was about 3 cm. from head to end of abdomen , but the antennae and long hind legs made it look much bigger . I think it could be Cerambyx cerdo , but not certain .
I came across this Red Admiral , one of the few I have recorded this year , just as I met one of the High Elms Rangers , leading a butterfly walk . They had searched the Conservation Field , and they too were finding things hard , even with many pairs of eyes scanning .
On the way back home for lunch , I stopped off at Keston Ponds for a look around . Good numbers of Odonata were recorded , covering 8 species . 2 Downy emerald , 7 Emperor Dragonfly , including an egg laying female , and 15+ Red Eyed Damselflies , male pictured , were the pick of the bunch .
In a cool corner of the top pond , a female Mallard was keeping a good eye on her sleeping offspring , who all managed to get out of the water , apart from one , who just settled down for a snooze nearby . Even though the fishing season has started again , the water erupted every now and again , as the resident male Tench attempted to fertilize the female's eggs . When I got home , Carol said that she had found a caterpillar in the back garden , which turned out to be that of the Mullein Moth-Cucullia verbasci , and whilst posting , realised that it was on a Verbascum plant .
And finally , a shot that I took on Tuesday up on the Ridge , and forgot about . Driving between strimming sites , growing on a laneside bank , Orange Hawkweed-Pilosella aurantiacum , one of my favourites .


Warren Baker said...

Blimey Greenie, I'm only just getting the hang of Small and Lare skippers, i'm not likely to see an Essex I ?

Greenie said...

Warren ,
You most certainly will , give it a couple of weeks . Remember the ones with the ends of the antennae dipped in black ink ?
Just think ourselves lucky that we don't have to worry about Chequered ,Lulworth and Silver-spotted too .

Anonymous said...

Hi Greenie, I haven't seen the Wellington Bomber, Hurricane or Spitfire on the wing thus far. What do their larvae look like?

Greenie said...

Rob ,
Big !

Phil said...

Good tip for Skipper ID Greenie. Nice to see a fishy element to your post as well with the Tench or Doctor Fish as it used to be called in the past.

ShySongbird said...

So there I was thinking I wouldn't have to worry about the Essex Skipper ID here only to look it up and find the name is slightly deceiving and that maybe I might see one!

That beetle was rather impressive looking and I too like the Orange Hawkweed, a lovely bold colour.