I decided to head into Surrey this morning . Sounds quite a journey , but after reaching Spring Park Pond in about 5 minutes , I crossed the Kent/Surrey border , and 5 minutes later arrived at Hutchinsons Bank , owned by the Croydon Council , and managed , like Salt Box Hill , by London Wildlife Trust . The last bit was obvious , as the fenced area of the site had been grazed to within an inch of it's life . With nothing really growing , thus nothing in flower , very little was found . I tried the scraped areas , where Kidney Vetch had been planted for the Small Blue colony , expecting at least plants , not necessarily in flower like those at Steve/Kingsdowner's patch , but didn't even find a leaf . In the cool of the morning , and with very little interest around , I started checking the large number of Garlic Mustard/Jack-by-the-Hedge plants , that lined the bridlepath at the bottom of the site . At least this was a success story , with Orange Tip eggs found on many of the plants , some eggs being laid on the unopened flower buds , and others laid on the stem , just below the flowering head . I don't expect a shortage of this species next year . Having reached the end of the reserve , I crossed the lane and entered the sister reserve of Chapel Bank . In the woodland , a large number of specimens of Sanicle/Sanicula europaea , a member of the Carrot family were found in flower , pushing their flower heads above the surrounding Dog's Mercury . The Sanicle leaves are very similar to Wood Anemone leaves , but are shiny . As I got deeper into the reserve , I found a friendly Marsh Tit that posed for the camera , before disappearing into a rotted Hazel stool , where I suspect it had it's nest . Soon after , I found the livestock that had probably been moved from the previous site , and were now demolishing this one . That's 3 trashed sites found in the last few days .
When Dean/DDD posted a shot of Woodruff/Galium odoratum a while back , I remember thinking that the flowers looked very similar to Squinancywort , one of my chalk grassland favourites , and a species that I had not knowingly seen before . Well , on my way back , whilst admiring the mix of Bluebells and Yellow Archangel in a woodland , I found a patch of the species . A member of the Bedstraw family , like the Squinancywort . In the same area of woodland , Wood Spurge/Euphorbia amygdaloides , it too in full flower . It must have been the temperature , but butterflies were in short supply this morning , with just 2 Orange Tip , 1 Red Admiral , 3 Brimstone , 1 Green-veined White , 1 Small White , pictured , and a few Speckled Woods being found , but not recorded as they were 'over the border' . A tiny speck on a Nettle leaf caught my eye before leaving , and can only assume that it is a juvenile Cricket , probably Dark Bush .
Home for lunch , and whilst looking around the garden with Carol this afternoon , a male Green-veined White tried to get his way with a female , but she was having none of it . Carol asked , as she didn't have her glasses on , 'is that her middle finger sticking up ?' . I replied that it wasn't her middle finger , but holding her abdomen in this position means that the male cannot couple with her , so the end product is the same . Also , fighting around the pond , were two male Large Red Damselflies , one pictured .
And finally , I received an email this morning that a second member of Butterfly Conservation / Kent , has confirmed that the butterfly seen and photographed on Hayes Common a while back , is in his opinion a Large Tortoiseshell . I would like to thank all those who supported my initial identification , and commented as such at the time .
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