Monday, 28 May 2012

Monday 28th. May 2012

Well , the recurring problem with the car cropped up again last Thursday at Ashdown Forest , but the garage couldn't look at it till this morning . The news was not good , I am just waiting to find out how much the parts will be and how hard the repair bill will hit my back pocket . Anyway , leaving the garage I decided to have a look at a couple of reptile sites . The first , a reasonably new one to me , was still in shadow when I arrived , but that soon changed as the sun got up above the surrounding trees . But that did not make any difference to the reptiles , as I did not find a single one . The visit
turned into another insect search , finding some old friends like the Mint Beetle / Chrysolina menthastri (pictured) ,correct ID is Cryptocephalus aureolus or hypochaerides , thanks very much Greg , the first appearance of the 'Thick leg' Beetles and several Harlequin Ladybirds , along with three species that I am struggling with ID for , but more of them later . Beginning to feel like I've forgotten what an Adder looks like , I moved on to the Greensand Ridge . Whilst looking for reptiles , I also checked the Dormouse boxes , expecting as usual at this time of
year , that a good number would be occupied by Tits . And so it turned out , with some boxes still
with eggs , some with very young chicks , and many where the family had fledged already . It was in one such box that I found the first of two Dormice found on site , a male who hadn't even bothered to put in any leaves , just sleeping on the moss and feathers supplied by the previous occupants , the Blue Tits . He did however become very active , very quickly , when I slid the roof over . A juvenile
Grass Snake was the first reptile found , with another two found later on . By the time I found the first Adder , the temperature was well into the 20sC , but it was found under a corrugated metal
sheet , and heavens only knows what the temperature was under there . About two thirds round , it was nice to get out in the open around the edge of the lake , where , in the shallows , large Carp were spawning in good numbers .Lots of damselflies in the vegetation , a single male Banded Demoiselle
blew past me on the wind and my first Broad Bodied Chaser of the year , a male sat out in the Yellow Flag Irises . I had only taken my old camera with me , so when I pointed it at a male Downy Emerald that stopped for a split second near me , I didn't expect the finished article to be in
the frame , never mind reasonably clear . I probably should mention that all but one of the other attempts did evade the viewfinder . On the way to the next refugia , a migrant day flying moth landed
in the grass in front of me , the SilverY , no doubt glad to have got away from the Euro crisis , and a
bit further on , a home grown species , a Small Copper , a female from the size of the individual . The second Dormouse came almost at the end of the visit , and this one couldn't be bothered with any
bedding either , but he didn't have an old nest to get his head down on either , but he was quieter than the first one and just sat with the roof off the box whilst I got a shot . The second Adder , another
male , was much more camera shy than the first , staying well tucked up in thick vegetation . Only
other interest found on site was a predated Pheasant's egg , looks like the work of a Corvid to me , and four Speckled Woods , the first I've seen for a while . And finally , three ID's required ,
Yet another red and black species , about the size of a ladybird . Now IDd as Cryptocephalus bipunctatus or biguttatus , both of which are rare . Thanks to Greg .
Just about as drab as the previous one was colourful . Now IDd as Dascillus cervinus .
Many thanks to Phil / Sharp by Nature for identifying this one as one of the Click Beetles Athous Haemorroidalis ,  apparantly abundant - piles of them ! His joke , not mine . Cheers Phil .
And finally , an unusually shaped specimen . I'm still looking , but any suggestions would be appreciated .


Phil said...

Bad luck with the car Greenie. Haven't you got a mortal enemy you can sell it to?
Nice to see pics of a Dormouse again.
I think your last UFO could be a click beetle Athous haemorroidalis, allegedly an abundant species (piles of them), although i've never seen one and with a name like that I don't think I want to.

Warren Baker said...

Loads of interest today Greenie, I wish I had a few more snakes on my patch, I rarely come across them, - and never an Adder :-) The Tits are having a strange year, some well ahead of others, the ones at my school fledged today :-)

Greenie said...

Phil ,
I think that ID is spot on , thanks very much .
Thanks for the advice on the car , but what would you do with a second one ? Only joking !

ShySongbird said...

I saw some of those same click beetles last week! Greenie, what is it about that car failing on or very close to bank holidays?! Maybe it has a traffic jam phobia ;-)

Lovely to see the Dormouse.

Could the mystery beetle in the middle be the Mealworm Beetle. That is only a very tentative suggestion, I'm not at all sure. I am very intrigued by the red and black one and have trawled through many books and websites with no success. I do hope you find out what it is!

Anonymous said...

Greenie, your very first beetle is a Cryptocephalus, rathaer than a Chrysolina (same family though), either C. aureolus or C. hypochaeridis, but i can't remember the differences for the moment. Your red and black beetle is also a Cryptocephalus; C. bilineatus. I know I've seen the next beetle before but for the life of me can't remember what it is. The last one could well be Athous haemorrhoidalis, there are some similar species but that one is the common and abundant one.


Anonymous said...

Sorry, I meant Cryptocephalus bipunctatus for the red and black one.