Friday, 29 April 2011

Friday 29th. April 2011

With not a drop of the promised overnight rain , and a cool , windy morning , things were not looking good for getting out today . Given the conditions , I took Carol to do the monthly shop before lunch , and with little improvement , and not prepared to go far on a Bank Holiday , I just spent an hour or so at Spring Park Pond this afternoon . Things had warmed up a bit , but it was still windy on my arrival . Around the Pond the number of St.Mark's Flies was incredible , and some were insuring that next years population would be large too . In the wind , the few butterflies seen were sheltering , like this Holly Blue , looking almost like a Common Blue , with very little dark marking on the forewing . The conditions also grounded this male Orange Tip . I watched it trying to land on some Bracken , taking several attempts to make it , only to be driven off again by a gang of St.Mark's Flies . Close by , also sheltering , was another of the many Hoverflies , this one being Helophilus pendulus . Moving on to the small sheltered meadow , I found two immature Broad Bodied Chasers , neither of which seemed interested in reducing the number of flies . Speaking of flies , I found this copper coloured species on the path as I re-entered the woodland , but haven't been able to identify it yet . Another look at the pond on the way past found nothing new , but on the Bramble nearby , a hunting spider was doing it's best to reduce the fly population . Whilst photographing it , a movement of yellow caught my eye . It turned out to be a lemon yellow Crab Spider . It showed quite well for a time , before disappearing to the underside of the Bramble leaves . With so many flies around , I was pretty sure of it's intentions . Sure enough , the wait was not long before one of the St.Mark's Flies settled on the leaf , and before it knew what had happened , the Crab Spider had it from underneath . I managed to get around the other side , where the Crab Spider was tucking into it's meal . Within a few minutes the fat abdomen of the fly was completely flat , having been sucked dry by the spider .A small moth was spotted on a Dandelion seedhead , but the wind didn't make the shot easy . Once again , Dean/DDD has identified the moth as the Small Yellow Underwing , many thanks .
And finally , having replied to Marianne's comment on the last post regarding male Broad Bodied Chasers 'blueing up' from their gold/yellow immature colouring , I manage to find a couple of the shots that I mentioned . As can be seen , the 'blueing' starts at the tip of the abdomen , spreading back to the thorax . I'm not sure exactly how long this takes , but would say 1/2 days .

8 comments:

Dean said...

Great post Greenie, considering the conditions. The moth is a Small Yellow Underwing.

Marianne said...

Thanks for posting those BBC pics, Greenie. They are very striking when half blue and half yellow-green - I'll look out for this over the next couple of weeks. Love the crab spider too, what a beauty.

Warren Baker said...

The wind is going to be a pain all weekend Greenie, but it might just blow in a passage migrant :-)

ShySongbird said...

Lovely photo of the Orange Tip Greenie and another interesting post.

I don't know how I missed yesterday's post but have just caught up with it and enjoyed it. I have tried and tried to identify your 'flower on a stick' since you first posted it and the only thing I can come up with is that it could be a member of the extensive Saggitaria family possibly an introduced type but I am not too confident.

ShySongbird said...

Sorry, that should be Sagittaria.

Phil and Mandy said...

some terrific pictures there Greenie, I am going to put my moth trap out tonight to see if anything takes a fancy to it.

Paul said...

Hi Greenie, your right about those St marks flys mate(i didnt know their name until i read your Blog!) But there are masses of them in my area, and im sure one bit me on the back last week too.

Jason K said...

Stunning Broad-bodied chaser photos Greenie. I particularly like the one that is front on holding its prey