Monday, 25 April 2011

Monday 25th.April 2011

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 .

3 comments:

Phil said...

Very nice post Greenie. Even though I know nothing about wild flowers you still manage to keep my interest.
Well done with the Large Tortoiseshell confirmation, I'll get your autograph on wednesday!

Dean said...

Yeah, well done on your LT confirmation, Greenie.

ShySongbird said...

Congratulations on the Large Tortoiseshell Greenie! Do you think the fact that it was in quite a tattered condition means that it had overwintered here? It would be wonderful if it is found that they are starting to breed here again.

An interesting read again and good news that you found lots of Orange Tip eggs, the Orange Tips seem to be very abundant this year.

I haven't seen any damsels or dragons so far this year but then I haven't been able to get out for the last week.

Thank you, I just read your reply on the last post, it is better than it was but still swells so much as the day goes on that wearing a shoe is most uncomfortable. It is a week now but last year it took 3 weeks to go!! Many people end up in hospital on a drip after an encounter with the Blandford though!