Sunday, 3 April 2011

Sunday 3rd. April 2011

It turned out that I chose the best part of the day , mid morning , to do the first butterfly transect of the season at High Elms Country Park , now that the recording season is officially started . Parking up in the golf course car park , I first went to see if we 'down South' had caught up with 'up North' in the Butterbur/Petasites hybridus , in flower stakes . I can report that we may have been late starters , but 75/100 blooms were decorating the area which is managed for the species , probably the best show that I can remember . Leaving the car park , for the second time , a Mistle Thrush was seen feeding on Ivy , and across the road in the orchard , a Blackcap was trying to out-sing this Dunnock , perched at the top of one of the fruit trees . I managed a shot of the Dunnock , but no chance with the Blackcap . He was one of about six heard whilst on the transect . A single flyby Comma along the edge of the Conservation Field was the only record so far , and although Spring is only just started , life and dead situations are already happening , like when this fly decided to warm up on a fence post , not realising that the slit in the post was home to a spider . On the lane above the top car park , the Green Hellebores/Helleborus viridis , are giving a really good show this year . I had to wait until I reached Burnt Gorse before recording any further butterflies , but two male Brimstone , one caught just as it was taking off again , and a very confiding Small Tortoiseshell went into the notebook here . It is good to see the latter making a comeback , fingers crossed . The Orchid Glade didn't produce any record , but it was good to see the rosettes of the Common Spotted Orchid/Dactylorhiza fuchsii , pushing through . Plenty of birdsong all around the 2 hour transect , finishing with a Nuthatch almost directly over where I had parked . A flyby Peacock completed the transect as I was leaving the car park , giving a grand total of 5 butterflies of 4 species , things will get better . On the way home , along the bottom lane near the horse field , I sighted my first male Orange Tip of the year , and although chasing it half way back towards Keston , failed to get a shot - et tu Phil . At home this afternoon as more and more cloud rolled in from the West , I was cleaning the inside of the car whilst Carol was pottering in the back garden . A call of 'Orange Tip' from Carol , had me grabbing the camera and heading down the garden . Fluttering in the wind , the butterfly finally managed to settle on the cultivar version of Cuckoo Flower we have in a wet area . I got a few shots of the underwing , but looking at the sky , it was going to be some time before it would be tempted by a rise in temperature to open it's wings . After about one and a half hours , a brighter area was approaching and I went back with the camera and waited . Thinner cloud allowed a milky sun to warm things up a bit and the Orange Tip reacted , half opening it's wings , then with the sun disappearing again , closing them again . It was another half hour before a more sustained period of sun finally encouraged the open wing shot . Once it warmed up a bit , it flew off into a conifer , which offered more shelter than the top of the Cuckoo Flower .


Phil said...

Third of April and five butterfly species, can't be bad Greenie. As you say, fingers crossed for another decent small tort year.
Lovely shots of the orange tip, well done Carol for spotting it!

Warren Baker said...

Seems Carol has a knack for spotting things Greenie, ask her for some tips mate, more Orange ones perhaps :-)

Kingsdowner said...

I dream of orange tip shots like that!

Perhaps if Carole did the transects, she might get better records?

Paul said...

Hi Greenie, Some great shots of Butterflies that I'd like to see on my patch for this time of the year!

Just a little note mate, you mentioned about wanting to see those Nuthatch photos of mine? Well I did post a fair few shots on my Blog, but for some strange reason, whilst the latest Nuthatch blog is there, it hasnt updated on my blog, so to speak??!!

Anonymous said...

I might have been ahead with the Butterbur,Greenie. But you`ve beat me with Orange Tip.

ShySongbird said...

Gorgeous Orange Tip photos Greenie!!

I think the Small Tortoiseshell has fared much better in the last two or three years :)

Lovely to see the Mistle Thrush, I never see them!