Sunday, 11 July 2010

Saturday 11th.July 2010 ( Part 2. )

After a somewhat disappointing morning , we headed for Thursley Common , once the 'Mecca' of Odonata . The first noticeable thing was the wind , blowing strongly across this open site and the second , how dry the whole place was , with many of the ditches and pools completely dried up , and may more just damp mud . We didn't bother with Moat Pond , usually good for Emerald Dragonflies , but , with picnic groups , sticks being thrown in for dogs , and children throwing things in , even on our return to the car , a boat had been launched onto it , we headed for the boardwalks . A scratchy warbling song greeted us , but the singer was never seen , staying well down in the vegetation . The most numerous species recorded was the Keeled Skimmer . The blue male could be confused with the Black-tailed Skimmer , but no black tail or yellow markings on the sides of the abdomen , or even the Scarce Chaser , but again no black tail and no dark marking at the base of the wings either . Along the boardwalk , small yellow darters were being blown about by the wind , many having recently emerged . These were female Black Darters , a species that is found in acidic , heathland pools . Probably the second most numerous species was the Four -spotted Chaser , a species with a long flight period , and males with wing damage to prove it , but showing the dull signs of maturity . No sign of Raft Spiders which we were hoping to find , but alongside a small bridge , this Longhorn Beetle got blown onto some vegetation in front of us . I thought at first it was the species that seems to be in every Bramble bush at the moment , Strangalia maculata , but the markings were wrong and it was larger . I believe it to be it's cousin , Strangalia quadrifasciata . An example of the conditions was this pair of Small Red Damselflies , trying to oviposit in one of the wet mud areas , whilst being blown around . At the site of the only heard running water , we found Emperor Dragonfly patrolling the adjacent pool and a pair of Keeled Skimmers in the 'wheel' . Right over the far side , we looked for Demoiselles and Golden Ring Dragonfly , but with only a trickle of water in the small stream , neither were present . What were present nearby on one of the broad paths/ firebreaks , were several Silver-studded Blues , this one a male nectaring on Cross-leaved Heath-Erica tetralix , one of it's food plants . A single female was also recorded . As the sun started to drop , it caught the wings of this male Black Darter , and I couldn't resist the shot . Other species recorded included Emerald , Large Red and Common Blue Damselfly .
About the same time we had the SSBlues , we found a colourful moth , that I must admit gave us the run-around for some time , before submitting to a photograph , of sorts . This was the best I could manage , and think it is a Clouded Buff , male ? The top wing was this orange/rust , with dark spots/marks . The bird was still singing on our way back to the car park , this time well concealed in a Scots Pine . I stood for some time trying to get a view , but never managed . Dartford Warbler was going through my mind on site , and played the tape when I got home . I am reasonably sure it was , but would have liked to have got aa view to be sure . What I was sure of , was that we did not see a single Hobby during the visit , which says to me that the Dragonfly numbers are well down on the site , and they were feeding elsewhere .
When we got back to the car , the thermometer was showing 28C , and that rose to 29C on the way back .


Ken Browne. said...

Hi Greenie.
Considering the water levels was down, you sure got some good record photo's.
Some nice Dragonfly shots there, many I have yet to see.

Adam said...

Hi Greenie,

Managed to get up to High Elms today (last year's map was still valid, a few extra sign posts, but it ggot mr to exactly where I needed to be!). I reckon on 10+ Silver-washed Fritallaries with 5 on the wing together in one gald. Females ovipositing, all excellent stuff. No sign of White-letter Hairstreak, but with 2 kids in tow I was probably expecting too much.

Thanks again - a perfect spot on a perfect day.


PS. Purple Emperor at Dene Park has been showing very well on the ground (see my blog entry for today) - shame my camera ran out of batteries when it offered it's best side!

Dean said...

Clouded Buff it is Greenie and it`s the females that are more of an orangey colour.

I agree with the Strangalia id.

Phil said...

Another interesting read Greenie and unlike the Curate's Egg, good in all parts! Like Ken, there are species of Dragonfly i've never seen, perhaps I should spread my net a bit wider.

ShySongbird said...

You caught me out with two posts in one day, Greenie :)

What a good day you had, although not successful, regarding the Purple Emperor Buterfly. It seems you did everything possible though with Banana skins etc!

Great photos and info again on both posts. Lovely photo of the Black Darter with the sun on its wings. A lot of Odonata here which I have never (knowingly) seen. I'm very envious of the SWFs and the White Admirals.

Thank you very much for your correction on my post (which has been acknowledged and amended) a silly mistake which I am ashamed of and I suspect if my old Mum were still here she would be too ;)