Sunday, 24 April 2011

Sunday 24th.April 2011

With mid twenties temperature on the cards again this afternoon , I got out early again for a look at Spring Park Pond . On arrival , the hours rain late yesterday afternoon and a pleasant breeze made things feel much better . Since my last visit , the Hawthorn/Mayflower has come into blossom . Around the pond , many insects were still warming up and drying off the dew which was covering everything . This spider looked very strange , but I think it was just the way it was holding it's front three pairs of legs . Some of the insects had obviously taken to the air too soon , as several St.Mark's Flies were struggling on the surface , attracting the attention of predators like the Pond Skater and a male Common/Smooth Newt . The Pond Skater surprisingly won this one . Whilst watching other Newts , I noticed something moving slowly on some submerged vegetation . It turned out to be the larvae of one of the larger Hawker Dragonflies , probably Emperor or Southern Hawker . Even at this stage , they are vicious ambush predators , taking anything up to small fish . Also searching for food was this Pond Snail , with it's foot right out of the shell , and it's mouth wide open . Perhaps this is where the saying ' putting your foot in your mouth' came from . I remembered to check the pond plant that was in flower on my last visit , to see how it was growing . The petals have fallen now , but the plant seems to be growing straight out of the bed of the pond , and pulling the stem confirmed this . With lots of dog walkers entering the site , I took my leave and headed for the Common . First thing noticed was that the Rowan/Mountain Ash is also in flower , flowers that will hopefully turn into berries to feed Waxwings and the Winter Thrushes later . Of interest , both flowering trees found today , are members of the Rose family .
I decided to check to see if any of the Brimstone eggs had hatched yet , and after a while , found chewed leaves on the Buckthorn . If it wasn't for this clue , the caterpillars would not be found . This one is in the middle of the shot , parallel to the vein of the leaf , looking a bit yellowy , but actually light green . Whilst checking other Buckthorn , I first found this Green Hairstreak warming up in the morning sun , and a bit later , this female Holly Blue , who , like the one at Salt Box Hill , hasn't read the book , laying it's eggs on Buckthorn . I waited for her to move on , then checked the twigs , and sure enough , there was the small white , disc shaped egg , the start of a new generation . Whilst walking through the Heather , I disturbed a moth and following it managed to get a shot before it moved on again .
I could see it was very colourful , but didn't have a clue what species it was . A bit later , I found it , or another one , and it gave the opportunity for a better shot . Since getting home and doing some digging , I think it is a Beautiful Yellow Underwing/Anarta myrtilli . There were many male Common Heaths charging around , and also this one , which I haven't managed to identify yet , but I know a man who can .
And finally , whilst having lunch , we noticed that Blue Tits , having started nests in almost every box in the garden , have decided now to try out the communal House Sparrow box that I put up last Autumn . We have actually had House Sparrows looking , but nothing more than that . Only trouble with the Blue Tits is that one bird is bringing nest materials to the right hand residence , and the other is depositing it's material in the one to the left . Is it that one of them has a problem , or are there two pairs living side by side ?


Warren Baker said...

Laurel and hardy Blue Tits!

Greenie, I'm getting very envious now of all the Green Hairstreak reports on every blog I look at!!

Kingsdowner said...

If you get another pair in the adjacent holes, you'd have the Beatles' terrace in Help!

Warren, you get the Purple Hairstreak in the Weald - is that not enough?

ShySongbird said...

Another interesting post Greenie. Fascinating to see the Pond Snail like that.

I have tried several times, since you first posted it, to identify your 'flower on a stick' but no luck so far and I haven't managed the moth so far either, I'm sure Dean will know that though!

Like Warren, I would love to see a Green Hairstreak.

Alan Pavey said...

Hi Greenie, soMe lovely pics again and another varied post, I'm new to moths but would guess at Pine Beauty and Latticed Heath, that is without looking in the book!! I hope someone who knows, gives you the correct ID :-)

Greenie said...

Shysongbird ,
Thank you for putting in the time and effort , again .
I hope your leg is recovering from what sounds a nasty bite .
Where is 'the man' when you need him ?

Alan ,
Thanks for your input , but I feel comfortable with the Beautiful Yellow Underwing , and , after looking at your suggestion of the Latticed Heath , must say that I am uncomfortable with that one , but thank you . I'm still digging , but where is 'the man' ?

Alan Pavey said...

Hi Greenie, I've revised my thoughts to Common Heath on further investigation :-)