Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Tuesday 2nd. August 2011

It's quiet for birds has been said many times recently , but this morning , the Down House bird survey proved how true it was . Just 14 species were recorded , and half of them were singletons , and only two species recording more than 2 specimens . To put it in perspective , the same route produced 13 butterfly species , which at least kept the interest up on the way around . In the Sandwalk woodland , the sturdy Violet Helleborine mentioned last visit , has the lower half of it's flowers open . Usually in the shade of the tree canopy , but today , a single shaft of sunlight was streaming down on it . I crossed the cricket field and crossed into the small meadow over the stile , and was met by what I believe is one of the Roe fawns that I found a few visits back . As long as I stood still , it just looked , but just the suggestion of a step forward and it was off . Surprisingly , it did stop for another look , but once again , a movement from me and it headed off to the left hand fenceline . By the time I arrived , thinking that it had headed for cover , I found not one , but both fawns and their mother . She gave a bark , and all three did bound for cover . They were moving through Thistles and Nettles as tall as myself , so although all three , the female on the left , the second fawn somewhere in the middle of the shot , and the other one on the right , disappeared from sight into bushes beyond . I could hear them moving about , and a couple of times the female had a quick look to see if I was still about . Not wishing to upset the three of them , I moved on and left them to carry on with what they were doing . I always visit the walled garden again for butterflies before leaving , as things had usually warmed up by then , but today it only held a few Small Whites , a couple of them ovipositing . I arrived a split second too late to get the female laying , but did find the end product , this egg laid on the leaf of Horse-Radish .
After lunch , and still very humid , I visited the Farm lake to see how the Small Red-eyed Damselflies were getting on . There was no sign of them in the small bay where I had them last visit , but then noticed that many of the Rudd were cruising that area . I finally found them ovipositing further out on blanket weed , but also noticed several ambush attacks from the Rudd whilst they were doing so . Two male Emperors and three male Brown Hawkers were continually in aerial battles , but the sound of wings close by , drew my attention back to the small bay , where I found a female Brown Hawker ovipositing amongst the reeds . Sometimes , she almost got her armpits wet as she went about her business . Apart from the fact that she was ovipositng , identified as a female by the yellow markings along the side of her abdomen , the male having blue markings . Apart from constant visits by Swallows to skim a drink off the surface , and for the second visit , juvenile bird of prey calls from the woods , but never seen , the only other interest was this Holly Blue , nectaring on White Melilot/Melilotus alba , a member of the Peafamily .


Warren Baker said...

It was just too humid and uncomfortable today Greenie, you did well seeing what you did :-)

Orchids and Nature said...

The Violet Helleborine...what a fine specimen, I have yet to find one.

Rob said...

Greenie, Looks like the fawn has a good pair of ears. What is their keenest sense, I wonder, for detecting humans - hearing, sight, smell?
Egg-laying seems a fairly suicidal venture for dragonflies sometimes.