Saturday, 25 June 2011

Saturday 25th. June 2011

The main feature of today's weather , once again , was the wind . The morning was overcast , the afternoon slightly brighter , before starting to clear about 1600 , but the wind persisted all day . When things started to brighten up , I went for a look up on the Common . Entering the glade opposite the car park , the one with the Ash tree amongst the Oaks , I saw two butterflies scrapping , which turned out to be a Meadow Brown and a Large Skipper , but when they moved off , I spotted another butterfly on the Bracken under the Ash , my first Purple Hairstreak of the year . Not a rare species , but often overlooked as they spend much of their time high in the Oaks , or in a 'master tree' , at this site , an Ash on the edge of the glade , which is higher than the surrounding Oaks . It would have been great to get an open wing shot , especially as the specimen was in superb condition , but it was hanging on for grim death as with some gusts the Bracken leaf was almost turning upside down . A couple of gusts later , it was off . Last year on this site , the first sighting of the species was on the 5th. July . Now I know that they have emerged , I will visit the glade on a regular basis .On the heathland area , the Field Grasshopper was much more prevalent than it's Meadow relation . The Bell Heather/Erica cinerea , which has been in flower for some time , is now starting to go over , and it's replacement , Heather/Calluna vulgaris , is just starting to flower . The Buckthorn/Rhamnus catharticus , the leaves of which provided food for the Brimstone caterpillars , is now sporting it's clusters of black berries , to ensure it's future . Marsh Thistle / Cirsium palustre , with spines all the way down the stem , is also starting to flower , but these will not smell of honey like the Creeping Thistle/Cirsium arvense . Like the Violet Helleborines at High Elms , the Broad-leaved Helleborines here will be flowering soon , their flower spikes starting to unfurl . Heading back towards the car , the Large Skipper , a species that seems to be doing exceptionally well this year , was found , this one , nectaring on Common Toadflax . At the car park , Tansy/Tanacetum vulgare , a member of the Daisy family , with it's rayless , button-like flowers was also found in flower . Last sighting of the day , was this pair of Dock Bugs/Coreus marginatus , making that their species would be represented next year .


Warren Baker said...

Cracking PH photo's Greenie, especially so, given the wind!

Mel Lloyd said...

Lovely hairstreak. I looked for them today but didn't see any. Your thistle flower looks more like Carduus crispus?

Rob said...

A lovely Purple Hairstreak Greenie. Its eyespot and little tail on the hind-wing would make an effective decoy for any predator aiming for the head - is that the thinking?

ShySongbird said...

Interesting post again Greenie and colourful photos. I have never seen a Purple Hairstreak apart from in pictures, I must look higher in the Oaks!

Lovely photo of the Large Skipper on the Toadflax.

Those Dock Bugs are odd looking creatures!

Greenie said...

Mel ,
The reasoning behind Marsh Thistle rather than Carduus crispus , was that my book (Fitter, Fitter,Blamey) states that C.crispus has flowers in clusters , similar to Carduus acanthoides/Welted Thistle , and the ones posted were single flowers on stems .

Rob ,
I have read that before , and I'm sure the deception has probably saved some specimens from bird attack .