Thursday, 12 May 2011

Thursday 12th. May 2011

Ice packing Carol's foot every half hour or so certainly brought the swelling down , and she got a reasonable night's sleep . I left the decision till the last moment , but went volunteering both Tuesday and Wednesday up on the Greensand Ridge , while Carol rested her foot for the two days . Only interest found on the two days were my first Swift sightings of the year , finding a second House Martin colony with 6+ birds , and having a Grass Snake slither across the track in front of us , whilst in the vehicle up on the Ridge .
After a quick bit of shopping , I set off to see if the cooler weather had mad a difference to the reptiles up on the Downs , having seen an improvement up on the Greensand Ridge last week . The short answer to that was no . I started off well , finding a large Grass Snake sunning itself and took a shot from distance , and as I took my first step forward , the snake disappeared at speed , and I was down wind of it as well . Just two Adders , both large females were found , the only shot I got of one was as she stopped very briefly before also disappearing . 4 Slow Worms and a single Common Lizard and that was it . Once again , the butterflies and other wildlife filled the gaps . In the early morning sun , male Common Blues were more interested in warming up that fighting others , and the same light didn't bleach out the colour of the Green Hairstreaks , still found in good numbers . Whilst searching the area favoured by Small Blues , without success , I did find my first 'Golden Skipper' of the year , a male Large Skipper , the only one recorded today , and later in the morning recorded two female Common Blues , this being one of them . In all , 10 species were recorded , not bad given the coolness and strength of the wind . I found another Man Orchid , and was surprised when I found the first of many Fragrant Orchid flower spikes , but even more so when I found this spike with flowers already open . Other plants found in flower included ,Dog Rose / Rosa canina ,
Deadly Nightshade / Atropa bella-donna ,
and lots of Mouse-ear Hawkweed / Pilosella officinarum .
Found sunning himself , was this male Scorpion Fly/Panorpa cognata , showing well how this species gets it's common name . Garden Chaffers were everywhere , and following them were the Starlings , hoovering them up and flying off to feed their youngsters . Also in very good numbers the young Meadow Grasshoppers . Most of the expected day flying moths were seen , along with this Yellow Shell , and another sighting of the Lace Border .

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