Friday, 16 July 2010

Friday 16th.July 2010

After cancelling at the last minute yesterday , because of the wet , windy weather , Keith and I headed for Dene Park near Tonbridge , still with a strong wind blowing , but a promise of no rain . Loaded down with enough banana skins to sink a boat , we arrived on site just after 0830 .
We headed straight to the spot where I had had several sightings of 'His Majesty' , the Purple Emperor on my visit last Monday . We added the banana skins to the attractions left by the dogs that had been walked in the area , and waited for 'His Majesty' to arrive , settle on the banana skins , and allow lots of shots to be taken . Well , it didn't pan out quite like that , because after 3 hours of searching , not a single sighting of a Purple Emperor . There were other species to photograph whilst waiting , including a very fresh Holly Blue , a first sighting of the second brood for me . I must admit that the numbers of White Admiral seen on both visits to this site is very high , and when a single Silver Washed Fritillary showed up , it made us feel at home , as if we were at High Elms . As I walked the path for the umpteenth time , the strong wind blew a small moth to the ground in front of me . It turned out to be one I know , having posted it before , Pyraustra purpuralis .m I don't know if it was the same one as last time , but a very agile Red Admiral spent ages , charging up and down the path . A couple of very fresh Large Whites were also recorded , this one , a male , identified as such as the are no black spots showing on the top forewing , and as a Large by the more extensive black tips to the wings than the Small .
We were joined by another couple of enthusiasts from Canterbury just after 1000 , who stayed for a while , then went off looking elsewhere in the wood . They returned about midday , just as the first few sightings of the day . All were right at the top of the Master Tree , but they were pleased to have seen 'His Majesty' . Shortly afterwards , things went quiet again , and Keith went walkabout in search of more . Whilst he was away , another few sightings , and a very quick perch by one male on an Oak behind us . A very hurried shot produced the best shot of the day , albeit , not the wanted shot on the ground . Immediately after the shutter operated , he flew off back towards the top of the Master Tree . When Keith returned , he had had a couple of sightings of his own , which was good . We were then joined by another enthusiast , Phil from Dover , who had also read of the sightings on Adam's /East Malling , Ditton & Barming blog . The two chaps from Canterbury left shortly afterwards , but we started to get more sightings , and more photo opportunities , but still high up and with that strong wind blowing . Phil , good meeting you , left to head for Lullingstone for the Dark Green Fritillaries , and as sightings slowed again , we had a last walk further down the track , and on the way back to the car , found this feisty specimen on the path , Devil's Coach Horse-Staphylinus olens , a member of the Rove Beetle family .
On the way home , we called in at White Hill near Shoreham , for the Chalkhill Blues , but cloud had rolled in and the temperature was dropping . About 20/25 males were seen , but no females yet . Whilst passing under a Yew , something fell to the ground in the wind . At first I thought it was a dead leaf off the tree , but it proved to be a moth , I think , by it's shape and how it folds it's wings , of the Footman family ? Over to you Dean . Once again , Dean comes up with the ID , Buff Footman , many thanks .
Strangest thing to happen today , was meeting someone , Phil , who knew Steve/Kingsdowner !


Adam said...

Sorry to hear the Purple Emps didn't play ball again, but at least you got soem sightings. Bet they'll be coming down to the ground again when it starts warming up and the banana skins start to rot down - Sunday??!


Phil said...

I like the Devil's Coach Horse Greenie, haven't seen one for ages. Thanks for IDing the Emerald Damselfly for me.

Kingsdowner said...

Strange, not many people are brave enough to admit that.

There's plenty of us out looking for Emperors, so well done for finding some. Is the pile of banana skins growing large enough to attract them yet?

Anonymous said...

Well done on remembering the Pyrausta, Greenie.
The other moth a Buff Footman. It as more of a curved/rounded wing than the other Footmen.

ShySongbird said...

Glad your patience was rewarded and that the Emperor honoured you with his presence, Greenie :) Well done on getting the photos!

Like Phil I haven't seen a Devil's Coach Horse for ages...well some years in my case, they are quite something! Lovely photo of the SWF.

Incidentally when correcting the Id which you kindly pointed out to me I somehow only put Knapweed and not Black Knapweed. I have now amended that.

Dave J. said...

Hi Fred
Your purple Emporer nice pic I do not suppose I will ever cross paths with one of those. as for the devils coach horse when just a nipper I was bitten by one of these, we used to call them rain beetles.
I had a dragonfly in my garden yesterday and was told possible Emperor Dragonfly