Thursday, 30 September 2010

Thursday 30th.September 2010

Tuesday and Wednesday , volunteering up on the Greensand Ridge , did not produce much interest , apart from a few fungi .
Verdigris Agaric-Stropharia aeruginosa .
The leathery , chestnut bracket , Polyporus badius , will become tobacco coloured with age .

My first fresh specimens of the year of Xylaria hypoxylon-Stag's Horn or Candle-snuff Fungus . On the way home on Wednesday , I found a Tawny Owl on the roadside at the bottom of Westerham Hill , sadly it looked like it's neck was broken , probably hit by a passing vehicle . With tomorrow looking grim weather-wise and hedgelaying on Saturday , hoping the weather will change , I headed for Down House this morning to do the Bird Survey . A pretty average count of 17 species were recorded in mist to start , but clearing quickly . No Winter Thrushes were found , but there were 2 Swallows hawking insects over the largest meadow . The best of the rest were 2 Bullfinches flying over calling , Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker (pictured) and a large flock of noisy Rose Ringed Parakeets , 4 of which pictured . I watched 3/4 Jays , toing and froing , each return journey had an acorn in the bird's bill . Through the mist across the large meadow , I could make out the male Roe Deer , feeding in the shadows of the Sandwalk woodland , whilst the female was feeding a bit further down the slope .
I tried to get close under the cover of the woodland , but the female heard me , and this was the moment that they both disappeared into the vegetation .The bird numbers were well outdone by just one species of butterfly , with 25+ Small Coppers recorded , mainly on Ragwort in the two larger meadows . It seemed at times as if every stand of Ragwort had at least one Small Copper on it . Other species recorded included what might be the last Meadow Brown of the season , 1 Peacock , 2 Speckled Wood and 2 Comma . Ivy flowers are one of the last sources of nectar for insects , and on the walls of the walled Garden , the flowers were attracting large numbers of Hoverflies and Bees , and Hornets looking for a meals too , at least four were seen today .
Another species found on the walls was what I believe is the Ichneuman Wasp - Pimpla instigator , a female from that long ovipositor on the end of her abdomen , but as usual , I stand to be corrected . This species is also known as the Black Slip Wasp and the female can lay up to 150 eggs into the caterpillar of moths , mostly The Snout . This female was searching ever nook and cranny , looking for her offspring's first meal .

After lunch , I had a look around Spring Park Pond , but as tomorrow is a no go , I'll write that up then .


Warren Baker said...

Shame about that owl Greenie :-(

25 Small Coppers ! Blimey I thought they had finished now.

Dont bother with tomorrows post if it is going to show Tufties and Coots.......

Kingsdowner said...

Owls do seem to have a habit of standing in the middle of the road, unfortunately...

ShySongbird said...

Sad news about the owl, Greenie :(

Lovely photo of the Small Copper, I haven't seen any butterflies here lately :(

Love the last photo of the deer :)