A sunnier morning today , but still a strong breeze blowing , encouraged me to do the High Elms butterfly transect today , as although not good conditions , this wind is set to keep blowing for a few days . Arriving at the Golf Club car park , I first went to have a look at the dipping pond . The Moorhen was still on her nest , enjoying the warmer conditions . When I passed a little later , she had moved off and four youngsters could be seen in the nest . Then began a very frustrating half hour listening to and try to get sight of a bird , singing from deep cover , a song that I have never heard before . Whilst on site , I described the song as 'scratchy beginning like most Warblers , like a mix of Mistle Thrush/Blackcap ( but much slower ) , some descending notes similar to Willow Warbler ' . At one point it showed and I got some sort of shot which I couldn't really see on the LCD screen in the sun . Each burst of song lasted about 6/7 seconds , and it sang for 95% of the half hour I listened to it . Towards the end , it flew into the centre of a large, thick Holm Oak , but I couldn't find it . When I got home , I downloaded the shot and enlarged it , and the only thing I can make out of it is a male Blackcap . I heard lots of Blackcaps singing whilst doing the butterfly transect , but none sounded like that one .
The transect itself started quiet in the open part of the Conservation Field , which was itself open to the breeze . By the time I got into the fenced section , and especially behind the hedge that divides the two area , the sheltered area began to get the notebook going . The main species recorded again was again Dingy Skipper (29) , this one nectaring on Bird's Foot Trefoil which is just coming into flower , and Grizzled Skipper (7) did well again . Had I spent more time in this and other sheltered areas , I'm sure many more of both species would have been recorded , but the idea of transect recording is to keep moving on the same route each visit . Before leaving thatarea , I recorded my first Brown Argus of the year , a male , identified by the blueness of the abdomen and the orange spots fading out towards the leading edge of the forewing . I can't believe that I have been recording Orange Tips (6) now for almost four weeks , my first record being on the 3rd. of this month . This male still looking good , nectaring on Herb Robert . After yesterday's bright male Holly Blue (1) , this female looked much less colourful and almost sultry . Speckled Wood (9) , were found in most sunny glades , the males fighting over ownership as usual , Green-veined White (3) and Small White (2) were also recorded . Just about evenly split , Burnt Gorse and the Orchid Bank produced Green Hairstreak (8) , all males involved in aerial battles , causing loss of more and more of the scales on their wings , and consequently their pristine looks of the weeks gone by ( sorry again Warren ) .For the umpteenth time I thought a male and female Brimstone (6) were going to mate on Burnt Gorse , and for the umpteenth time they didn't . 10 species recorded on the visit was reasonable given the conditions . Several Burnet Companion and Pyraustra purpuralis moths were also seen . Leaving The Orchid Glade , I noticed this Dryad's Saddle or Scaly Polypore/Polyporus squamosus . Passing the farmhouse with the nesting House Martins on the way home , I stopped for a look , but all the birds seemed to be feeding , way high in a clear blue sky , but this Goldfinch stopped to see what I was doing . Having lunch on the patio , there were several male Large Red Damselflies hanging around , and whilst looking around the garden , there was the answer . There seemed to have been an emergence of females this morning , this being one of them , not coloured up yet , but already it can be seen that she is of the form melanotum , one of three forms of female in this species .
And finally , one of Carol's pride and joys from the garden , an Iris which she calls 'rhubarb and custard' .
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