Sunday, 3 July 2011

Sunday 3rd. July 2011

After all the excitement of recent days , it was back to the mundane things of life today , like taking Carol to do the monthly shopping , but , before that I did spend an hour or so up on the Common , hoping for another meeting in the early morning light with the Purple Hairstreaks . Trouble was that no one told the PHs , as the only ones I saw , about 10 in total , were high up in the Oaks , seemingly unwilling this morning for a photo shoot . The usual more common species were recorded , along with a single Marbled White , the first recorded on the site this year , still warming up amongst the grass . A single , very fresh , second brood Holly Blue was also recorded , but quickly disappeared over a high fence .
After the shopping and a quick coffee , I headed for the Farm lake , taking advantage of the sunshine . Still no sign of the Little Grebes at all , and the 'Coot 8' are still intact . Still not great numbers of Odonata , but several of the bays had male Emperors patrolling their territories . Black-tailed Skimmer numbers seemed lower as was any mating activity , with most males perched over their patch , waiting to drive off intruders . Around the banks , Purple Loosestrife/Lythrum salicaria is starting to flower , which will boost nectar sources now that the masses of Ox-eye Daisies have gone over . As will Wild Carrot/Daucus carota , one of the many umbellifers found around the lake , and a magnet for many of the smaller insects . I meant to mention on yesterday's post that I found my first Gatekeeper whilst searching for the Black Hairstreak , and today three more were recorded , all males , identified by the dark sex brand on the top of the forewing . In the quietest corner of the lake , I found one of three female Emperors , two of which were ovipositing , secreting their eggs singly into vegetation around the shallow , warm edges . She was very mobile depositing her eggs over a large area , whilst I stood quietly watching her . Eventually she chose a spot directly in front of me , giving a good view of the dark dorsal marking running the length of her abdomen , the only dragonflies to be so marked . Still lots of newly emerged Common Darters amongst the vegetation , but only small numbers of Common Blue , Azure and Blue-tailed Damselflies were recorded . The lady of the house came down for a chat and invited me to go up to the stables where the Swallows are nesting if I wanted to before leaving , which I duly did . On the way up the drive , two juvenile Jays were on the verge and I slowed to get a shot , even though I still had the 100mm. lens on the camera . I tried to get close but every time I crept forward 5 metres , they flew back 6 metres , and one flew off . This was the best I got of the one that remained . Arriving at the stables , I set up the tripod at the stable door , but there wasn't much action at the nest , which has been used for at least the last 4 years . Eventually , two little heads peeped over the edge to see what was going on . A few times adults did come to the nest , but not with food in their bills , even though the youngsters were begging . On other occasions , the adult would just hover in front of the nest , then perch and watch the actions of the youngsters . Then different tactics , as the adult landed next to the nest , calling constantly . That too was followed by perching some way away and watching again . Those two youngsters looked ready to fledge to me , and I think that the adults were trying to encourage the pair out of the nest and into the wide world outside . As I packed up to go home for lunch , the two youngsters were still entrenched in the nest , still begging for food . I don't think that they will still be there tomorrow though .

1 comment:

ShySongbird said...

A very nice mixed post Greenie and informative as ever. It was good you were able to see and get lovely photos of the Swallows before they fledge, it definitely sounds imminent.