Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Wednesday 28th. March 2012

With high temperatures expected again today , I made an early start to have a look up on the Downs , and hopefully find a few reptiles before the heat of the day drove them under cover . A wonderful
welcome in the form of Chiffchaff ( pictured ) , Blackcap and Skylark , all in full song made a good start , and my decision to get there early paid off , when I found a couple of male Adders within the
first few minutes , both of which looking as if they had just climbed out of bed , and were now
wanting to bask in the morning sunshine to warm up . And warming up it was , quickly , which resulted in just one other male and a juvenile , born at the end of last Summer were found . Two
Grass Snakes , my first of this year were found , this one , showing only it's back half , was a large animal , a probable female , that took off at speed into the woodland behind . Four Common Lizards
and the same number of Slow Worms were also recorded . As reptile numbers dwindle , my attention turned to butterflies and plants , producing another two male Orange Tips , three Speckled Woods ,
my first sighting of the species this year , and two of them already in an aerial battle . 1 Small Tortoiseshell , 6 Brimstone , 1 Small White , 1 Peacock and 3 Comma also made it into the book .
Plant-wise , I finally found some Coltsfoot / Tussilago farfara , a member of the Daisy family , still looking very fresh . Not far away I found several Cowslip / Primula veris plants in bud , but then just
one plant with just one of it's flowers fully out , to join the other members of it's family , the Primroses which seem to be having a very good year . In a shady corner and fully in flower , the
creamy white form of Common Comfrey /Symphytum officinale , a member of the Borage family . Also in flower , but with green flowers not as striking as others , Wood Spurge / Euphorbia
amygdaloides , as expected , one of the Spurge family . Although the Ash trees have not leafed yet ,
they have taken on a reddish hue , imparted by their flowers , which , if successful , will produce a good crop of 'keys' , which will feed many species of birds through the Winter . On the way back to the car , Bullfinch , Coal Tit and a singing Mistle Thrush were seen , along with what I thought at first was a Grizzled Skipper , when a small insect flew past me . I managed to keep sight of it , but
when I did catch up with it , it turned out to be another year first , a Pyrausta purpuralis moth . A Grizzled Skipper was seen in Sussex in the last couple of days , but I will have to wait a bit longer for my first one of the year .


Warren Baker said...

Its certainly much better to get out early Greenie!

I had my first Grass Snake of the year today too ( although forgot to mention it on my blog....oops)

ShySongbird said...

Hi Greenie, a great read as always. I've heard Chiffchaffs but haven't been able to spot them so far, such a welcome sound though.

That is a beautiful photo of the Coltsfoot, I haven't seen any here yet. Pretty little moth too.