Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Tuesday 6th.July 2010

Not a very good start to the week yesterday , when a planned visit with Keith to deepest Surrey for the Purple Emperor butterfly , had to be called off last minute due to traffic chaos on the M25 following an accident . We had to stay local , and a re-visit to Lullingstone Country Park proved fruitful , as Dark Green Fritillary numbers have exploded . I made a conservative estimate of 250+ , but would not be surprised if the true figure were in the 500-1000 bracket . We were lucky enough to find two , mating pairs during our visit . Also recorded were several juvenile Skylarks , this one posing on Greater Knapweed . On the same species , the Burnet moths were having their annual competition to see how many they could fit on one flower head , 5 here .
A walk along the bank of the River Darenth , produced good views of Chubb , just for Phil .
Odonata were few , just appearing in the sunny spells , or making more like this pair of White-legged Damselflies , found in the 'wheel' position .
After a late lunch , the rest of the afternoon was spent at High Elms . White Admiral and Silver washed Fritillary numbers have increased , and the first female SWF was seen ovipositing in one of the usual spots . In one of the small glades , as the sun began to fall , butterflies were nectaring on Privet flower , these included White Admiral , and in the same shot , one of 3 White-letter Hairstreaks recorded , my first for this year . Heading back to the car , several hoverflies-Volucella pellucens , were dancing in the sun's rays .
Today started well , with a quick stop at the Ash tree on the Common , on the way to volunteering . At last , two Purple Hairstreaks were found on the Bracken in front . I tried to get a shot of the 'streak' on the underwing , but failed miserably . The pair only wanted me to see their pristine topwings . They will not stay like this for long when the fighting starts . My volunteering lasted about two hours , when I nearly took the top off the middle finger , right hand , with a petrol powered hedgetrimmer , my own stupid fault . A quick visit , seen and dealt with within 20 minutes in the Minor Injury Unit , brilliant , but that was the end of my day on the Greensand Ridge .
A look this afternoon didn't find the PHs , but did turn up my first Gatekeeper of the year , and a second later on West Wickham Common , both identified as males by the dark marking , sex brand , on the topside forewing . And finally , on the way back to the car , scrambling over a fence , White Bryony-Bryonia cretica , a member of the Gourd family , not to be confused with Black Bryony-Tamus communis , a member of the Yam family .


Phil said...

Thanks for the Chub shot Greenie. Could you make it about a six or seven pounder next time please.

ShySongbird said...

Ouch! That sounded painful. Good job it wasn't your shutter button finger :)

Lovely to see the juvenile Skylark and to hear the DGFs are in good number. Great to see the White-letter Hairstreak too, I would love to see one.

Warren Baker said...

Was that one of your shorter posts Greenie :-)

Great Butterflies seen today, i'll swap you a closed wing PH for an open wing one !

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Hope the fingerr heals quickly. Had a vol once who nearly severed a thumb with a pair of loppers - still can't work out how she did it!



John Young said...

Hi Fred, thanks for the comments and the leg colour differences for the red damselflies. Amazing count of fritillaries at Lullingstone, wow!

Kingsdowner said...

Yike - painful! There'll be hell to pay when the H&S executive get to hear of it.
Great butterflies, just as the normal chalk ones have finished.