Friday, 6 August 2010

Friday 6th.August 2010

With changeable weather forecast from mid morning on , I just had a look around local sites today . As with many mornings , the first stop was the Ash tree on Hayes Common . Not a single movement , not even at the top . But , a dark shape on the Bracken produced only the second Purple Hairstreak low down on the site this year , and my only positively identified female too .Whereas the male , in the right light and from the right angle , shows a purple sheen all over the topwings , the female just has the sheen on small patches of the forewing . As can be seen from the condition of the scales on the wings and the almost bald back of the thorax , she has been emerged for some time , so hopefully , she will have mated and her offspring will be seen next year . Apart from her , butterflies were few , mainly Gatekeepers and a few Meadow Browns feeding on the Heather on the heathland area . It was amongst the same Heather that I caught a movement from the corner of my eye , waited , and after a couple of minutes , this Common Lizard came back out of hiding to continue it's sun bathing .
A stop at Keston Ponds wasn't exactly exciting , but I did record Emperor Dragonfly (4) , Brown Hawker , Black-tailed Skimmer , Common Darter , Red-eyed and Small Red-eyed , Common Blue and Azure Damselflies . Both the middle and bottom Ponds had young families of Moorhens , searching for food amongst the ever increasing blanket weed . The family on the bottom Pond had five youngsters , and a sibling from a previous brood , on the right in the shot , was helping the two parents feed the latest brood , an action I had heard of , but never seen before . Alongside the road that splits the top two ponds from the bottom , Broad-leaved Helleborine were found in flower , but seemed to be suffering from the dry weather .
My last stop was at a small bit of Heathland on the edge of Keston Common , and amongst the Black Knapweed , I found the seed head of Crow Garlic-Allium vineale .

The area produced good numbers of butterflies , including a very fresh female Brown Argus , and a very dull specimen of a female Common Blue . When the specimens are in good condition like the two above , two more points to help with identification . The white wing fringe on the Common Blue is unbroken , but on the Brown Argus , there are lines through the fringe . Also , on the back of the hindwing of the BA , there is very little white around the orange/black spots . On the CB , the orange/black spots are surrounded by white . These points are very difficult to see when the wings are worn . I also recorded three Small Heaths , a species I haven't seen much of this season . On a patch of Yarrow-Achillea millefolium , I spotted something pink , which turned out to be a Shield Bug . It had all the markings of a Sloe Bug , and was fully grown , but I cannot find any images of the species with this colouring . Perhaps it is like an albino or lutino form , I just don't know .
Well , I thought that was the excitement for the day , I was up in the back bedroom putting this post together and Carol was down the garden . Repeated calls from Carol and her impression of a butterfly had me grabbing the camera and chasing out into the garden . When I reached Carol , she pointed to a stand of pink Phlox , but I couldn't see anything , until a large multi coloured insect took off , flashing orange , brown and cream . What was that I thought to myself , and immediately thought it was a rare migrant or an escapee from someone's collection . Thankfully , it settled a couple of metres away on a Cotinus shrub , and I managed to get a shot . The stripes on the topwing brought Garden Tiger to mind , and a little later , an article in last weekend's paper that Carol showed me , and I had it , Jersey Tiger . It stayed for a short while , allowing several shots , then in a orange flap and glide , flew to and settled in a conifer , this time above head height . It flew so fast , I couldn't get a decent flight shot . But I did manage to get a couple of shots of the underwing and abdomen , before it flew off again , this time landing high in a neighbour's Sycamore . We still had the paper , and I see there have been several sightings in the London area over the last few weeks . It is a day flying moth , originally from the Mediterranean , but as we have got warmer , have spread to the Channel Islands and the South West . It feeds on Buddleia and Thistles , and with several of the former and stands of Echinops-Globe Thistle in the garden , we might be lucky enough to get further sightings , if the cloud were to break up .
That was followed by an adult Goldfinch and seven juveniles , noisily invading the feeders for their tea , and when they finished , a mixed Tit flock came through , Blue , Great and Coal , for their tea , and also for their evening ablutions .


Kingsdowner said...

It seems that Carol's extravagant gestures were justified - smart moth! A good addition to the British list.

Adam said...

Hi Greenie,

Just read an article on BirdGuides that mentions recent reports of Jersey Tigers in the London area:


Wilma said...

The look of that Jersey moth is so different from below and fram above. You really captured that orange-pinky color of the underside with the light shining through the wings.