I hadn't even got into the car this morning before the camera was in action . Whilst doing a few chores before going out , I spotted this specimen moving amongst the vegetation as if it was looking for it's breakfast . At the time I suspected a member of the Ichneumons , and this was later confirmed as Amblyteles armatorius .
Once chores were finished , I set off for High Elms to do the butterfly transect , although with the lack of specimens recently , for other Bloggers as well as myself , I wasn't too hopeful of the outcome . I was pleasantly surprised , when the first species I recorded was my first Small Skipper of the year , and even managed a second shortly afterwards . Mind you it was all downhill from there , with just six species , just 55 butterflies in total being recorded during the two hour transect , and although it wasn't wall to wall sunshine , the results were very poor indeed . On the Orchid Bank , I did get a flash of orange pass me at speed , assisted by a stiff breeze , that could have been the first Silver Washed Fritillary of the year , but I just didn't see enough of it to make a positive identification . The butterfly count was almost out done by the day flying moths seen , with lots of Nemophora degeerella , the small dancing moths found in sunny glades with long antennae , good numbers of Burnet Companion , a Heart and Dart and a Yellow Shell , that were sheltering in the ground vegetation . Once again , attention was drawn to the flower heads of the Ox-eye Daisies , as they seemed to hold some interest ,like this Chaffer type beetle , as yet unidentified ,this very colourful spider , also unidentified ,and this unidentified caterpillar , taking a chance on not becoming breakfast for a passing bird .Back in the woodland , this juvenile Speckled Bush Cricket posed nicely , and a bit further along the track towards Burnt Gorse , the Violet Helleborine/Epipactis purpurata is showing again this year , together with two other specimens , hopefully they will all flower and set seed later .From what I have read , the Harlequin Ladybird is having things all it's own way , so it was good to see things might not be as they seem . Most of the White Helleborines have gone over now , as have the few Fly Orchids that showed on the Orchid Bank , but the Broad-leaved Helleborines , with their characteristic nodding flower head , are waiting their turn to show off .
On the way back home for lunch , a stop at the old farmhouse confirmed that the Grey Wagtails have re-used their old nest site from last year , under the missing slates on the roof , and also that they have raised a brood , returning with bills full of food . Meanwhile , under the eaves , the House Martins were working hard to keep their growing youngsters happy , one of whom can just be seen above the adult's head .