With no let up with the windy conditions , I set off to do the Bird Survey at Down House wearing a fleece , even though there was hardly a cloud in the sky . It proved to be a pleasant enough walk around , but nothing special recorded , but Blackcap , Common Whitethroat and Chiffchaff all singing boosted the species numbers , but no hirondines were recorded on site . respectable 23 species were recorded with Wren and Blackbird leading the way with 6 of each .
Around the large meadow , about 20 sets of refugia have been put down since my last visit , and I had to have a look as I passed , but only found a single Slow Worm , but it will be interesting to see what is found on future visits . Also on the edge of the large meadow , a very colourful flower on a plant that used to be grown as cattle fodder I believe , Salsify/Tragopogon porrifolius . At the bottom of that meadow , I made my usual detour to see if the Kidney Vetch , the food plant of the Small Blue butterfly , was showing on the edge of the golf course . No sign at all was the answer , but I did find three butterflies settled together out of the wind , Green Hairstreak and Small Copper , both in the not very good shot above , and a Dingy Skipper that I couldn't get in the frame , and also a Red Admiral and a single Common Lizard . I also found 4 reasonable golf balls , which will be recycled by Carol's brother in due course . Back in the meadow , Small Coppers started coming frequently , some of the standard form , but some of the aberration caeruleopunctata , having blue spots along the copper bar on the hindwing . Even though the species hasn't been on the wing for long , the object of the exercise was not lost on this male courting his proposed mate . As with the Brimstones yesterday , nothing happened in the end . Another species of hoverfly seen today , and one I don't think I have seen before , is Dasysyrphus venustus , at least I think it is , but , as usual , stand to be corrected . I had checked the meadow for Deer on my arrival , but didn't find any , but as I approached the hedgeline between it and the Sandwalk woodland , a female Roe Deer frightened the life out of me as it leapt up out of the long grass and bounded along the hedgeline . Eventually she headed down the slope of the meadow towards the golf course . I had the 100mm.macro lens on for butterflies , and knew I wouldn't have time to change , so I just carried on shooting . I didn't notice it at the time , but when I processed the shots at home , it appears to me that the female was carrying young . She was very deep in the belly , and there are lumps , like legs or the like , showing low on the side . I checked up , and mid May to mid June is the birth time for this species . Also of interest , although her egg would have been fertilised when she mated in the Autumn , it would not have started to develop until early January . The Roe Deer is the only hoofed animal in which delayed implantation occurs .
And finally , a small moth found whilst looking for the Kidney Vetch , which I thought at the time was another Small Yellow Underwing , but now I don't think it is , or is it ? Well , I was right , I was wrong ! Thanks to Dean/DDD for identifying the moth as a Small Purple-barred .
3 hours ago