Saturday, 30 April 2011

Saturday 30th.April 2011

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' .


Ken. said...

Hi Greenie
Nice shot of the Brown Argus, I have yet to see one of those.
Also good shots of the Goldfinch and the Large Red Damselfly.
Nice to see the Moorhen's bred, lets hoe they don't loose any, although I wouldn't bet on it.

Warren Baker said...

Greenie, Blackcaps pick up and mimic all sorts of bird songs, some of them are copied from birds encountered in their winter quarters.

PS I'm still hunting the Green Hairstreaks !

Kingsdowner said...

Interesting timing - I also saw Brown Argus and Large Red Damsels today...... and Green Hairsteak reappeared in the garden - they're just everywhere ;-)

Paul said...

Hi Greenie, a nice selection of Butterflies there mate, which most of us wouldnt see in the same day!

Mike H said...

Hi Greenie,

Had a male blackcap down at Stodmarsh yesterday doing almost the same as yours but with very strong Song thrush traces.
My wife Paula would love that iris.

ShySongbird said...

A good day there Greenie, perhaps you and Kingsdowner could send a Green Hairstreak my way!

I have enough trouble with identifying birds by song without them mimicking each other!

Lovely photo of the Large Red Damselfly.

Carol's 'rhubarb and custard' is lovely too.

Phil said...

Nice post and pics
Greenie. Good to see a Brown Argus. Haven't managed to find Dingy Skipper yet, obviously hanging around the wrong places!