Riding my luck , I'm trying for another catch-up , with what should have been yesterday's post , once again in 'picture and comment' format .
With better conditions forecast for the morning than the afternoon , and with the football on , I headed for High Elms to do the butterfly transect , but on the way , stopped at the Farm lake for a quick look around . The Mallard adults still have their singleton duckling , and surprisingly , the Coots still have their four out of the original five youngsters , plus two more very young ones , half the size of the other four . I think they must have been late hatching , as I don't think there was time for her to have a second brood so quickly . Still not a lot of Odonata around , but in the warming morning sun , this male Common Blue Damselfly was sharing the rays with a Small Heath .
This male Blue-tailed Damselfly was enjoying the same .
A racket out on the lake , proved to be two Moorhens arguing , rather than the usual Moorhen v Coot skirmish . A couple of Common Blue butterflies were recorded , and when I was just about to leave , a movement down by the waters edge caught my eye . I thought it might have been a Frog or Toad , but it turned out to be a larvae of a Black-tailed Skimmer dragonfly . Unlike most species which emerge from the water up stems of emergent vegetation , this and a few other species , climb up the bank some metres , before climbing up a chosen support for their emergence . This particular one disappeared into a large clump of Pendulus Sedge , but in the same area , I found this newly emerged specimen of the same species .It had emerged from it's exuvia , the cast skin of it's larval form , to become a flying adult . I have often found the exuvia , sometimes in good numbers some 3-5 metres from the water and knew that they obviously had to get there under their own steam , but this was the first time I have seen it first hand .With luck , it will dry it's wings and colour up like a specimen found a metre away .
By the time I reached High Elms , the wind was getting up and clouds started rolling in . It was obvious that numbers would be down on last weekend , and so it proved . 9 species were recorded , none of which were the over-wintering as adult species , which are now ending their 10 months or so of life . The results of their breeding will be found later in the Summer .Some of the Green Hairstreaks are definitely showing their age ,but others still look quite tidy . Common Blue (19) and Dingy Skipper (14) were well down on numbers , but at least the former will show again with a second brood late in the Summer .On the Orchid Bank , the first of three year firsts , the Twayblade ,the first Common Spotted Orchid found in flower ,and the first of four Fly Orchids found on the site .