Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Wednesday 22nd. June 2011

Firstly , many thanks to ShySongbird for identifying the first species on yesterday's post . The Solitary Bee was in fact a fly , Sicus ferrugineus , which probably explains why I couldn't find it .
Mind you , with a name like that , it should be on the duck list .
The second species was identified by Mel Lloyd , for which I am very grateful , and is a Saproxylic Beetle-Tumbling Flower Beetle / Tomoxia bucephala . I have tried to find out more about this species , but although there are many entries , very little information is available . It would appear to have come from Scandinavia /Russia , and was first recorded at Wicken Fen in 2006 .
Thank you very much Mel for your help .
Turning to today , the day of the Dormice/Reptile survey up on the Greensand Ridge , which can only be described as a very wet one . I was joined on today's survey by fellow Blogger Phil / Sharp by Nature , and fellow 'wildie' Terry Laws . The early part of the morning was just overcast , but as we reached the halfway stage on the first site , the heavens opened . With vegetation in places as high as us , we just got wetter and wetter . Added to that , we failed to find any Dormice on the first site , but on the upside , nearly every Tit nest had successfully fledged , just the odd egg being found . The only box with eggs/young , was one temporarily occupied by a Wren . By the time we started on the reptile refugia , we resembled drowned rats , and the Bracken and Bilberry in the area of the refugia , at times head high , just added to the wetness . The odd Slow Worm , a Common Lizard , and two very large Grass Snake sloughs , shed skins , raised the spirits , but a bit of sun would have been appreciated better . On the roadside between the first two reptile sites , a Stinkhorn / Phallus impudicus was found , the smell of rotting flesh attracting flies , which in turn carry the spores to others of the species . We actually managed to have lunch outside , before the next heavy shower put paid to that . The afternoon was more of the same weatherwise , but finds did get better on or near the refugia . Several juvenile and a good sized adult were found , then a large female Adder , surprisingly lying out in the middle of another heavy shower . Eventually , she sloped off to the shelter of a tree stump , when one of the lads spotted this specimen almost infront of us . The main reason that it wasn't seen earlier , was it's size . Another job for the 35mm film canister , suggested by Phil . A probable female , born last year , that too got fed up with the rain and moved off . The Dormice boxes continued producing spent Tit nests , until the sight of a few green leaves in one box , produced what we were hoping for , a male Dormouse , a first for the lads , and the rain was forgotten . The survey finished in the rain , and we were all glad to get back to the yard for a hot drink and to straty to dry out .
The best find of the day though , was a Common Buzzard nest with what we are pretty sure was young in it . Guess where I'm going tomorrow ? Weather permitting .

5 comments:

Greenie said...

Apologies for the printing of this post , I just don't know what's happening with Blogger recently .
I can't get into the post to edit it , so I'm afraid I can't do anything about it .

ShySongbird said...

Oh dear!! The only way I could read the text was to highlight it in the way one would to copy and paste etc. I hope things sort themselves out soon Greenie. Of course it dawned on me then that I could have read it on this page!

The duck thing struck me too when I typed the name.

Just one Dormouse and three drowned rats today then :)

Tomorrow should be interesting, I will look forward to it.

Kingsdowner said...

Impressive adult male stinkhorn!

In stark contrast to sweet female adderlet - better luck with the weather tomorrow!

Mel Lloyd said...

Greenie. Thank you, but I really cannot take credit for the id of your insect. I'd never seen anything like it before Graeme Lyons posted a similar insect on his blog this week. I checked on NBN gateway and it is rare, nationally notable. Might be worth checking with the county recorder. I also looked for some info on Tomoxia bucephala and found out it is from a family called tumbling flower beetles, although from the little I can find on this species it lives in deadwood. Great spot.

Phil said...

Despite the weather Greenie, that was without doubt one of the best days i've had for a long time. I'm looking forward though to better weather in August!
Many thanks