Sunday, 30 October 2011

Sunday 30th. October 2011

Another busy week hedgelaying , left little time to get out , and the weather didn't help either , but I did manage a couple of visits . The first was up on the Downs , for what will probably be the last chance of reptile sightings this year . Conditions were very reasonable , with a temperature of around 16C and some good periods of clear sky . But , for all that , I only managed to find a single Slow Worm . Even the birdlife was very scarce , with the best being a flock of Common Gulls passing noisily overhead . Thinking about it , the whole year has been poor in that respect , with no Yellowhammers or Common Buzzards , and just a single Common Whitethroat being seen whilst on
site . Just a few remnants of Summer still remain , like this Harebell / Campanula rotundifolia , and
the odd Devilsbit Scabious / Knautia arvensis , still supplying nectar for the few insects that are still on the wing . The most interesting find for me was a group of Carline Thistles / Carlina vulgaris ,
found in a much more colourful condition , and showing the yellow sepal-like bracts , which according to the book , fold up in wet weather . I usually see the plant in it's drab beige/brown condition , in which it remains throughout the Winter . A few invertebrates were found on the way
round , like this Hawthorn Shield Bug /Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale , and it's cousin the Forest Bug
/ Pentatoma rufipes . On a nearby stack of old fence posts , a queen Common Wasp / Vespula
vulgaris , was looking for a safe , warm place to spend the Winter , before starting a new colony of the species next Spring . I also disturbed a female Dark Bush-cricket / Pholidoptera griseoaptera ,
which then posed helpfully on some Nettles , showing well the upward curved ovipositor which she would use to lay her eggs . The only other interest was when I turned over a large piece of wood that
was lying in the grass , and found four juvenile Wood Mice huddled up together .
The other visit was a very short one to the Farm lake . Short mainly because there was very little about . As I got to the lake , a Little Grebe that was in the nearest corner , spotted me in seconds , and
was off at full speed to the furthest corner off the lake . I watched it arrive alongside the reedbed , and was pleasantly surprised to see a mate/friend pop out of the reeds to greet it . That is the first
time that I have seen more than one on the lake , since the resident pair lost their brood during the Summer . Let's hope it is a mate , and they will be more fortunate next year . One male Migrant Hawker was recorded along with a single Red Admiral , like most that I have seen recently , heading South . The only other interest was a fast moving Tit flock along the hedgerow , composed of a mix
of Blue and Long Tailed , one of which posed just long enough to get a shot amongst the Spindle fruits .


Warren Baker said...

A real good mix of the last summer has to offer Greenie :-)

Time for winter now mate :-)

Phil said...

That's a great line up for late October Greenie. For me, winter starts today with the turning back of the clocks. The countdown to winter is over, the countdown to spring can now begin!

Alan Pavey said...

I like the LTT pic, it's great there are 2 Little Grebes there too, this might be the first year I haven't recorded them at Sissinghurst :-(

Rob said...

Thought you might like to know the second shieldbug is actually Picromerus bidens (no common name). Probably one of my favourite insects.

It’s a completely predatory shieldbug. The bright red legs and antennae, almost spherical rear half and spiked shoulders set it apart.

Good find!