Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Tuesday 7th. June 2011

The morning did turn out reasonable , but once again that wind was a pain , especially with photography . It was worse where I decided to go , up on the Downs , with butterflies and maybe a reptile or two . The recent rain and cooler weather would hopefully change my luck , but it wasn't to be regarding reptiles , as just three Slow Worms were all that was found . The first half hour on site was spent trying to find a Nightingale that was singing in short spurts from a scrubby area . At one point , a Common Whitethroat landed nearby , and a singing competition started between the two birds . At times I felt that the Nightingale was no further than an arms length away , but I could not see it . In the end , I caught a back end view as it flew to another patch of scrub and started singing there , but I did not follow him , just enjoyed the song as I went on . Once again , butterflies were very few and far between , and once again it was the flower heads of Ox-eye Daisies that provided interest . This Long-horned Beetle/Strangalia maculata , is the first of the species that I have seen this year , but now they are emerging , they will be everywhere , especially on Bramble flowers . Mind you , these two Leaf Beetles/Chrysolinahyperici , in their irridescent coats , chose one of the yellow Daisy family for their activities . Lots of Fragrant Orchids , in varoius stages were found , a few of them almost pristine . The butterfly records were hard to come by and just 5 species , Small Heath (19) , Large Skipper (13) , Speckled Wood (1) and Common Blue (21) , were recorded , until on the way back to the car , a small specimen flew past me , assisted by the strong wind . I felt sure it was a Small Blue , our smallest butterfly , but didn't get a good enough view . 50 metres further on , I found another , and this time was able to confirm the identification . I found another two close by , all 3 being males , looking as if they had just emerged . Surprising really as Steve/Kingsdowner posted the species several weeks ago now , down on his patch on the Kent coast .
A few flowers found , starting to give some much needed colour and nectar ,
Self-heal/Prunella vulgaris , another member of the Labiate family , and once thought to have medicinal properties , curing people without the need of a Doctor , hence it's common name .Wild Mignonette/Reseda lutea ,
Agrimony/Agrimonia eupatoria , a member of the Rose family , another that was used medicinally , to cure colds and to treat snake bite , must remember that ,and Eyebright/Euphrasia officinalis , a member of the Figwort family , and was used as the common name implies , to make ladies eyes sparkle .
The last two pictures might upset some people , as they are of a dead Badger that I found today .
There was no sign of injury or wound on the animal , and from the position it was in , it just looked as if it had layed down , and died . Such a shame .


ShySongbird said...

Thank you for the warning Greenie, at least I was prepared and I did zip past quite quickly. Very sad to see a lovely creature like that.

You have some lovely colourful photos today. I too have noticed that Ox-eye Daisies often hold something of interest!

Lovely photo of the Whitethroat singing and nice to see the Small Blue.

Rob said...

I like those Longhorn beetles - haven't seen one of that sort yet this year. Entertaining in flight too.
The Fragrant orchids make a very gay couple!
RIP the badger :(

Phil said...

Snap with the Strangalia Greenie, quite a handsome specimen I think. Shame about the Badger, like most people, I only ever see dead ones.

Kingsdowner said...

A few points to take up there Fred.....
the dowdy hedgerows have now sprung into life and are lit up by knapweed, scabious, thistles etc - lovely.

I expect our small blues have passed on, and I saw my first marbled white today.

Badgers (and others) have had a hard time in the dry weather, so hopefully those that have hung on will be able to find food after the rain.

Mike H said...

Greenie I agree with Shy songbird,great blog,cracking photos and yes sad about the badger but if it was natural causes then exactly that.RIP

RogerW said...

Hi - I'm just back from another trip away in Europe. Following the thing about the Large Tortoiseshell sighting, a while back, I thought you might be interested in one of the things I came across, while I was in Italy near the Swiss border (between Lugano and Como), which was a Large Tortoiseshell larval nest.
The date would have been around 12 May 2011.
Photos at http://s1009.photobucket.com/albums/af215/RogerW800/?action=view&current=DSCF9179.jpg

Rob said...

Wow, I've always wanted to see Strangalia/Rutpela maculata. I'll keep my eyes open!

With the green beetles, have you considered either Cryptocephalus hypochaeridis or C. aureolus? The beetles in your photo have the right sort of tucked-under head and the wing cases separate before reaching the tip of the abdomen unlike in Chrysolina hyperici.