Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Tuesday 15th.June 2010

Dormouse and Reptile survey day in mid June up on the Greensand Ridge felt like mid September , but cooler . Even when the sun did come out , the cool wind kept the temperature low , and any thoughts of finding a Dormouse family faded by the minute . The closest we got , were this male and female , found in a torpid state in one of the boxes , presumably waiting for Summer to arrive to start breeding . The smaller one on the right being the male , sorry ladies . The two males found torpid on the last survey , were still in the same box , but most definitely active . This was one of them trying to imitate an Ostrich when I removed the top of the box . Obviously using the ' if I can't see him , then he can't see me ' approach . The 70 boxes monitored , produced 6 Dormice , 4 torpid and 2 active .
The Reptile survey was also hard work , especially as the Bracken has become a forest since the last visit , making finding the refugia a test , never mind finding animals to record . Just one Adder was recorded , a male , that could well have gone unrecorded had it not moved whilst lying on last year's Bracken , making it almost invisible . 6 Grass Snakes , 2 adult and 4 juveniles were found , this being one of the adults . By far the most numerous under the refugia were the Wood Ants , with eggs that were bigger than the adults . 6 Slow Worms of various sizes and a single Common Lizard completed the Reptile survey .
It was noticeable on the way around , how little Summer flower colour was about , with Red Campion being the only constantly found flower . One of my favourite colour combinations , purple and yellow was found in the flower of Bittersweet-Solanum nigrum , a member of the Nightshade family . In the woodland , we found a colony of Common Twayblade-Listera ovata , but unlike the up to 6 inch/15 mm. specimens on the Orchid Bank at High Elms , these specimens were almost three times the size , as shown by the 35mm. film cannister .
As there is water on both survey sites , a few Odonata were found . Emperor Dragonfly and Broad Bodied Chaser were not interested in posing , but a female blue form of the Common Blue Damselfly , was found , well away from the water , still not yet fully matured from her colouring . This is what makes identifying immature Odonata so difficult .
Having posed a multi spotted Harlequin Ladybird a couple of posts ago , I came across another today that looked nothing like it , confirming just how variable the species can be , this one black with red spots as opposed to red with black spots .
And finally , another ask for help on a moth , that I am sure I have never seen before , thinking in flight that it was of the Carpet family , but realising when it came to rest that it wasn't .
Thanks very much to Josh and Dean who both confirm that it is a Clouded Border .


Josh Jenkins Shaw said...

the moth is a clouded border

Dean said...

Yep, Clouded Border.

Phil said...

Unfortunately i've never seen a Dormouse Greenie, but then I suppose that applies to most people really.

Kingsdowner said...

Sleeping until the weather warms up seems a good strategy.

ShySongbird said...

Even in the sun it doesn't feel like June here so if it is the same there, (and it sounds like it is) I am not surprised the Dormouse survey was hard work!

It seems the Harlequin ID just got more complicated :)