Friday, 8 April 2011

Friday 8th.April 2011

I arrived on the Downs this morning , just as the sun was casting it's warmth over the lower slopes . But , further up , it was really quite cool . I had arranged to meet fellow blogger Steve / Kingsdowner a bit later , but spent the time before he arrived , having a quick look around . It wasn't warm enough yet to find any Adders , but the odd Common Lizard and Slow Worm were found . Having found Early Purple Orchids in flower yesterday , I checked on the ones here , finding several flower spikes , still sheathed , and just one specimen with it's first few flowers just opening . Steve arrived with a shopping list of some reptiles , a Cuckoo and a Green Hairstreak . And so started a most enjoyable wander around , and of course , some good banter . I'm afraid I was not able to conjure up a Cuckoo , but we did manage to find 8 Adders , 5 Common Lizards and 6 Slow Worms . We also managed to tick the first Green Hairstreak , for either of us this year . My book says early May to late June , but the recent run of sunny days obviously encouraged this individual to do it's own thing . Apart from the Green Hairstreak , we recorded 2 Peacock , 1 White sp. , 1 Orange Tip , 4 Brimstone including a female and 1 SmTortoiseshell . Of interest , all the Adders that we saw on our way out were not found on our return journey , definitely another case of too hot too soon .Steve had to continue on to do some work in the area , so after the best part of a couple of hours in great company , we went our own ways . One of the lanes an my way home provided a great show of Greater Stitchwort/Stellaria holostea . It's poorer relation , Lesser , will be out in about a month's time . After lunch , with blue sky and warm sun still abounding , I returned to Spring Park Pond , primarily to see if the Orange Tip butterflies had emerged . I didn't have to wait long for me question to be answered , as I recorded 3 males and a female , one of the males coming to the Honesty at the back of the pond for refuelling . Almost immediately , another year first , the first Damselfly , a male Large Red , looking extremely dapper . Lots of tadpole activity , and with warmer surface temperature , more Common/Smooth Newt activity as well , like this male , just about to break surface , a quick gulp of air , and back down into the depths . Elsewhere in the pond , 'life or death' struggles were taking place between the Newts and the Ramshorn Snails . I must admit it took quite some time to work out whether the Newt was trying to get the Snail out , or vice versa . Eventually I came to the conclusion that it was the former , and although fellow bloggers are well used to seeing the infamous 'death roll' , especially on the River Medway in the New Hythe area , it is not often seen in West Wickham . Also hovering about in the shallows was another of the 'introduced species' , three of which were seen today . As well as the Orange Tips , 5+ Peacock and 3 Holly Blues were recorded , the last of the Holly Blues stopping for a shot just before I reached the car .


Phil said...

Great post Greenie.
Well done with the first damselfly of the year, it makes it all complete somehow.
The Newt shots are brilliant, I wish the New Hythe version was as well documented. And a Green Hairstreak already. I hope we don't pay for all this later!

Warren Baker said...

I really want to find a Geen hairstreak on my patch Greenie! I just love that first newt shot - brilliant :-)

Kingsdowner said...

Thanks for your good company and usual fund of knowledge and bushcraft, Fred.
Without your help I'd probably have been bitten, and still not seen any adders!

Looks like you had a good afternoon too - love the Alien vs Predator pics.

Ken. said...

Hi Greenie.
Great selection of wildlife photographed today. Longing to see my 1st Green Hairstreak. Hope it won't be too long.
Have a goos weekend.

Paul said...

Hi Greenie, Ive been off line for a few days, so no doubt had to catch up with you guys! Ive just got to say that your Blogs are always packed full of some great images/wildlife, keep it up mate, its always a pleasure to both read and view.

ShySongbird said...

A lovely post Greenie! Full of goodies.

The damselfly makes it almost look like the other S word :)

Great Newt and Snail encounter!

How lovely to see the Green Hairstreak...I want one ;)

Well done with the Orange Tips too, I have found them far too flighty so far this time.

Incidentally, regarding the wild Fritillaries on my post, I know Oxfordshire is one of the only counties which has them. I am curious as to whether you get them where you are at all?

Greenie said...

ShySongbird ,
Apologies for not answering sooner your question re. wild Fritillaries . I can only remember finding them once many years ago , but I think it might have been when we went to see the Military Orchid at Marlow and the Red Kites at Christmas Common .
But I have never seen one in Kent .
Sorry for missing your Bee queery , old age !