Thursday, 21 April 2011

Thursday 21st. April 2011

Waking up early this morning , I decided to put my theory of why fewer reptiles have been found over the last week to ten days . I had put it down to 'too hot too quick' , so arriving up on the Greensand Ridge well earlier than I would do normally to look for animals , should improve things . An hour or so later , just one male Adder had been found , and he was already moving under cover , so my new theory was blown to pieces , even before it got on the drawing board . The early hour did have it's advantages though , the softer light giving a soft image to a fresh Speckled Wood . Also found were good numbers of Oak Apples , the work of the gall wasp Biorhiza pallida , and in what seemed like every shaft of sunlight , masses of the males of the moth Adela reaumurella , impossible to focus on when in flight as they all went up together , a bit easier when they settled back down again , with their long antennae blowing in the breeze . With my continued failure to find reptiles , I headed for Burnt Gorse at High Elms to check up again on early Skippers . Almost immediately , I found my first day flying , migrant moth from the continent , the Silver Y , not surprising given our weather compared to where it had come from . Not long afterwards , I found the first of 5 Grizzled Skippers , all in pristine condition , but still no sign of Dingy Skipper . I also recorded 3 pristine Green Hairstreaks , but none willing to come down to be photographed . Down in the shade at the bottom of the slope , male on Dandelion and female on Bugle , Brimstones were found , whilst another female was egg laying on a large Buckthorn . 5 other butterfly species were also recorded .
After lunch , and with the temperature at 24C. , I went for a look at Spring Park Pond . The first butterfly seen was the first of 4 Holly Blues , all of which were female , going by the size , as none were willing to show their top wing . The Large Red Damselfly seen on the last visit is no longer 'Billy no mates' , as two more males have joined him . Also on the emergent vegetation were several Alder Flies/Sialis lutaria , a species Ken and I found at New Hythe on Monday . Around the bank , Bush Vetch/Vicia sepium is in flower and attracting insects . The water was alive with tadpoles , Whirligig Beetles , Pond Skaters and plenty of Smooth/Common Newts . Many of the females were keeping to the margins , like this one , out of the way of males , but those that did run the gauntlet further out , had to put up with the attention of males with one thing on their minds . Much male tail flicking was seen , but very difficult to photograph as the surface was disturbed . Other butterfly species recorded included Peacock , Brimstone Speckled Wood and Green-veined White . A female Orange tip flew through and stopped at every flowering Garlic Mustard/Jack-by-the-Hedge plant , but never laid an egg , When she left , I checked the flower heads , and every one , had already had an egg deposited on it , like the orange spot just right of centre on this shot . The reason she didn't lay a second on any of the plants is because the caterpillars are cannibalistic towards others if on the same plant . Just before leaving , this Small Tortoiseshell came to cool down on the edge , before continuing on .
Lastly , help please with these three .
I thought this moth found on Burnt Gorse might have been Mother of Pearl , but it isn't . Thanks to Dean/DDD for identifying it as a Common Wave .

What I can only describe as a 'flowering stick' , at Spring Park Pond .and this bruiser , about 25mm long . I'm pretty sure it's an Ichneumon Wasp , but can't ID it at the moment . I thought the black/white antennae would help , but many of the species have them .


Warren Baker said...

Like the Newt photo's Greenie, I was trying to get some newt pics from my pond this afternoon, but the light was all wrong!

Anonymous said...

Greenie, i reckon the moth is a Common Wave and the flower is Large-flowered Water-thyme.

Can`t help with the Ichneumon though. The majority are a genitalia job.

Alan Pavey said...

I was just going to say the moth looks like one of the Waves and then read Deans comment, so you already know that :-) Another wonderfully varied post, I really enjoyed it.

Phil said...

Hi Greenie. I like your Adelas and great Newt pics too. Having trouble with my pond this year so not sure if I have Newts or not at the moment.

Greenie said...

Dean ,
Thanks for your help with those three .
Will recheck the water flower , as I don't recall it growing off a curly weed , more like a stick just emerging from the water .
I think I'll leave the Ichneumon 'bits' to others !

ShySongbird said...

A very nice and varied post Greenie with the sort of interesting detail which you are so good at such as the cannibalistic caterpillars!

Lovely butterfly photos and also the underwater ones. I am getting reluctant to walk near water after having been bitten (like last year) by the notorious and vicious Blandford Fly on Tuesday. You don't feel anything at the time but now my leg looks and feels like it has been run over by a heavy vehicle!!