Monday, 7 June 2010

Monday 7th.June 2010

With two days volunteering in front of me , and with a not very good forecast for the afternoon , I headed off to the Downs in the search of some new species for the year .
When I arrived at the first site , the sun was once again very watery , and everything was still very wet from the overnight rain . As I entered at the bottom of the slope , nearly every butterfly that I saw was a female Common Blue , not a male in sight . Some Dingy Skippers were also recorded , and some of them were now living up to their name , Dingy . I was just photographing a Common Spotted Orchid , when a small flash of silver caught my eye , and fortunately , I managed to follow it's flight to where it came to rest . My suspicions were confirmed , a very fresh emerged male Small Blue , the smallest butterfly in Britain . The underwing is very similar to the Holly Blue , but the colour and the size identify this superb little insect . I recorded the species on the site last year , and was glad to see that they had made it through the hard winter . Just a singleton here , but I recorded two other singletons on other areas of the slope ,and as I said , they have obviously only just emerged , so I look forward to finding more on future visits . A second Orchid species then caught my eye , one of just a pair of Man Orchids , growing where the ground vegetation was less dense . As I walked through that vegetation , I put up several Burnet Companion , Silver Y and Mother Shipton , all day flying moths , and several of these , which I believe to be Yellow Shell , if it is not , I'm sure that it will be corrected . The first of six Brown Argus recorded , all males was the next species found , this one must have been on the Fosters last night . In the shorter sward , a movement revealed a Green Hairstreak , still in very reasonable condition , sorry Warren .
Leaving the first site , to return later , I headed for the second site , a short distance away . Here , refugia have been laid , and I started turning them over . The odd Slow Worm , a male Adder in the grass close by to the refugia , then the jackpot . I turned over the tin , camera in hand , to find 1 female Adder , 2 male Adders and two Slow Worms , all underneath together . I had the 100 mm. lens on , and holding the tin in one hand , camera in the other , I couldn't get far enough away to get all the subjects in the viewfinder . Consequently , a photo of three Adders , none of them with a head and no sign of the Slow Worms , but it was the best I could do at the time . The light/dark brown one is the female , the black/dirty white one , bottom left , a male in breeding colours , and the black/pinky brown one in between , I would say was a non breeding male . I can assure that they all did have heads , and I got a shot of each one individually , which I have sent to the man who can recognise each one by the head patterns . Another tin revealed a couple of Common Lizards , both good sized adults , and each very different in colour , this species being very variable . Butterflies were much fewer on this site , but the slope was much more in the breeze , but 17 Common Blues and another Green Hairstreak , sorry again Warren , I won't post a shot of this one , were recorded . Heading back to continue with the first site , Speckled Wood was recorded . I had recorded good numbers of Small Heath , 15 in total , and on this section of the slope , I found at least 5 specimens that I am sure were females , from the size , and from their 'jizz' . A disturbed male heads off at speed and disappears into the grass , whereas these specimens , fluttered a few metres and settled again , and newly emerged too , by the look of them . The far end of the slope provided the third and fourth species of Orchids , a few Twayblades , and lots of Fragrant Orchids , many still in bud , but many more like those above , in full flower . The refugia did not only produce reptiles , a few insects were also found , like this Lesser Stag Beetle-Dorcus parallelopipedus . In all , 11 species of butterfly were recorded , the most numerous by far was the Common Blue , with 230 specimens on this , the first site . One of those eleven species provided the last find of the visit , when I recorded 3 pristine , freshly emerged Large Skippers , all in a very small area .
And finally , one for the detectives . I've found this beetle a few times recently , and have searched each time for it's identity , but have been unsuccessful . Any ideas ?
Since posting , I have done more searching , and found out that it is a Red-tipped Flower Beetle- Malachius bipustulatus . Should have known that with it sitting on a flower !


Warren Baker said...

I'm still looking for those Greenies , Greenie :-) losing hope now though )-:

Ken Browne. said...

Hi Greenie.
Another very interesting post. Lots of great photo's and it is hard to find a favourite, but I think I like the Large Skipper.
Also a good find, all those Adders of variable colouring.

Dean said...

No need to be corrected with the Yellow Shell, Greenie.
Another varied & great post.

ShySongbird said...

A great post (but of course they always are:)), well done with the reptiles.

I particularly like the photo of the Large Skipper. Good news that you saw the Small Blue there again.

Rob said...

Hi Greenie, the variety of your posts make me feel like I'm walking about with my eyes shut!
I wonder if there are any Small Blues about on the IoW?