Sunday, 12 September 2010

Sunday 12th.September 2010

Firstly , from yesterday's coppicing ,a young Toad found amongst the vegetation .
The coppice area was rich in fungi , and apt , as we were coppicing Hazel , one of the Lactarius family , L.pyrogalus , found in abundance amongst the Hazel stools . The common name for this family is Milkcap , and immediately the gills are damaged , the white milk like substance flows . Don't be tempted to taste the 'milk' though , very hot and acrid is how the book describes it .
On to today , I've been trying for some time to meet up with a fellow Surrey Group member , to visit some Crayfish traps he has (licensed) , down on the River Mole near Dorking . Well this morning Carol and I met him down by the river . Four traps were all that were in the river , but they produced Signal Crayfish in each of them . This was the largest caught , in a 25cm/10 inch mixing bowl . No , Carol wasn't too happy with that bit . This introduced species from west of the Rockies in North America , were brought over when the European species were being depleted by an infectious disease . Only trouble was that those concerned didn't know that the American species had the disease too , and being bigger and more mobile , were spreading the disease as well as out competing the European species . They can live up to 20 years , if not caught in my friend's traps , and can breed after 2/3 years . Going back to the mixing bowl , this is why I took it , a vicious pair of claws on the front legs , and if one or both is lost , smaller claws on other legs will grow to take their place . Don't be fooled by the blue eyes , they are vicious little things .This was one of the traps being hauled out .This was the haul from the 4 traps , and what does my friend do with them ? Fish Pie with 50/50 Fish and Crayfish tails/claw meat is said to be delicious , and a Curry is on plan over the coming winter . Well , it is illegal to release the species , and the fishermen on the river are only too pleased to see the back of them .
As we were so close , after leaving my friend , we headed for Denbigh's Hillside / Steers Field for a last look for Autumn Ladies Tresses , a member of the Orchid family . A good search for over an hour failed to find any specimens . It was very noticeable how few butterflies were around too , with just a few Adonis Blues , mostly females , and most numerous , Meadow Browns , including this aberrant specimen . During the whole visit , I only found one Silver-spotted Skipper , but I did manage a few shots . Once again , no sign of any Clouded Yellows .Again on this visit , I found a Hornet , this one searching the top of an Ant hill .We were on our way back to the car , when I found the only Specimen of Autumn Ladies Tresses on a site , where 10 years ago , 150 specimens could be found .Even closer to the car , one of the Ichneumon Wasps caught my eye . I think it is Amblyteles armatorius , but as always , stand to be corrected .I haven't had much luck identifying moths recently , but I think this is a Rush Veneer ?

And finally , the butterfly from my last post was a Small Heath , with the forewing drawn in . This shot is the same specimen , in it's more normal pose . Well done Dean for getting it .


Phil said...

Good post Greenie.
Impressive creatures the Signal Crayfish even if they are a pest.
A couple of years ago I fished a Trout lake in Dorset which was stuffed full of them. I fished two large and vicious looking specimens out with my landing net and christened them the Krayfish Twins!

Kingsdowner said...

Still a few butterflies around here, but again no Clouded Yellows.

Good stuff on the crayfish - I never realised they grew so large (but of course they are Americans).

Krayfish Twins !? Ouch

Dean said...

Correct id with the Rush Veneer, Greenie.
The Small Heath looked a bit greyer on the underwing than normal, that`s why i mentioned aberrant.