Firstly , many thanks to Warren/Pittswood Birds for spotting yesterday's mistake . The male Warbler singing , directly after the Willow Warbler , is a Sedge not Reed Warbler , Cheers Warren .
Now that the Norfolk trip posts are finished , and with a family get together tomorrow , I'm using this post as a catch up on the last three days , on each of which , I managed to get out for a short period in between rain/showers .
Thursday afternoon , I managed an hour on the LWT site on Saltbox Hill , below Biggin Hill Airport . The two Dartmoor ponies that the grazier promised would be off site within two weeks , five weeks ago , are still there , and the chalk grassland looks like a horse paddock , which is what it has become . The ponies seem to prefer the larger fenced area , which in the past was very good for butterflies , on the day I found 1 Com.Blue , 1 Med.Brown , 1 Sm.Heath and 1 Brimstone . The area less preferred by the ponies looks much more butterfly friendly , and before the next shower arrived , I found two new species for the year , Ringlet , and Marbled White , to think I used to get counts of 250/300 of this species on site , but that was before the arrival of the ponies . Heading back to the car under threatening skies , I did manage to get a shot of Vervain/Verbena officinalis . I just made the car as the heavens opened again .
Friday morning , I had a quick walk around the Common , this time before the first rain of the day . On one of the fire sites that we used through the winter , Common Toadflax had got a good hold . Nearby , Crow Garlic/Allium vineale , a member of the Lily family will soon be flowering . Just three butterflies were recorded , but there was no shortage of Grasshoppers of all sizes . This Meadow Grasshopper was quite happy for the warmth provided by my finger .Whilst looking for any Purple Hairstreak caterpillars on the Oaks , I came across this unusual Shield Bug . After a lot of digging when I got home , I have come to the conclusion that it is the final instar , one step from emerging as an adult , of the Forest Bug/Pentatoma rifipes .
An early visit this morning was to the Farm lake . Even though very windy , the Black-tailed Skimmers were found in good numbers . These two 'in the ring' , separated shortly afterwards , and the female started ovipositing immediately , whilst the male patrolled above her . Another new species for the year when I found several newly emerged Common Darters . Once again , impossible to say male or female at this stage , but as they mature , the females will basically stay this colour , whilst the males will redden . The bad news of the visit is that I could only locate one adult Little Grebe and just one juvenile , which has grown well , but not surprising as it is getting all the food . Constant calling by this one was not repeated elsewhere on the lake , and could well be why the others were predated . Ringlets , Large Sippers and this Small White , were the only butterflies recorded , but the conditions were far from good . This Silver Y moth , a migrant from the continent was tucked down in the vegetation and didn't seem to want to move . That ground vegetation now contains large amounts of Lady's Bedstraw/Galium verum . Most of the family are white , but this species will cover the ground with yellow when in full flower .
And finally , a moth found in my garage the other morning for the man . I must admit , I thought it was the Coronet , but it isn't .