Saturday, 26 May 2012

Saturday 26th. May 2012

Got out early this morning before it got too hot and before that wind got too strong . Spent about an hour or so up on the Common , where the grass was still wet from the overnight dew . On the
 heathland site , the first thing to catch my eye was a striking fly with a 'go faster stripe' down the middle of it's back .It took a bit of searching when I got home , but I think it is Tachina magnicornis .
further along , I found lots of Common Heath moths , mostly males , chasing around looking for a mate or someone to have a scrap with . Then one moth with a different 'jizz' fluttered by and landed in the heather . After a couple of re locations , I finally managed to get some shots of the Beautiful
Yellow Underwing , a heathland specialist . Personally , I think it's name should be change to Joseph , or in this case Josephine , with such a colourful coat . I remember we found the caterpillar whilst working here during the Winter . It was a bit too early for most species of butterfly , but the
Small Heath was out and about early , finding them everywhere ,and recording 15+ specimens , many involved in aerial battles . Two other interesting species found , my first 'jumping spider' , or at
least I think it is , Pellenes tripunctatus , but stand to be corrected . I must admit that it helped me with it's ID as I watched it jumping from leaf to leaf , and a second sighting this year here of the
Green Tiger Beetle / Cicindela campestris , but not looking so green now . With wind and temperature both rising , I headed off for a look around the Farm lake . As I started my first lap , the first movement I saw was a Four-spotted Chaser lift from the bankside vegetation , make it's maiden
flight and settle in a tree . It was so fresh that the spots in the middle of the leading edges on both pairs of wings were hardly discernable . It proved to be the only dragonfly seen , but lots of newly emerged and mature Common Blue , Azure , Blue-tailed and Large Red Damselflies were recorded .
Butterfly numbers were low because of the wind , but a Green-veined White was found nectaring on some Ragged Robin and a freshly emerged male Common Blue came to the finger . The ripples in
the wings show that they hadn't yet fully inflated , so I left him to finish doing so . Around the lake , Oxeye Daisies in full flower and he Cowslips finished and going to seed , and the Salad Burnet /
Sanguisorba minor , a member or the Rose family , was somewhere in the middle . However , the most interesting sighting was when a very water-logged adult Little Grebe popped up on the edge of
 a lily pad . It didn't race away when it noticed me , which was unusual . Then I noticed why it was
staying close by , a youngster was 'parked' in the middle of the pad . I was surprised to see how far away the adult went in search of food , leaving the youngster unprotected for long periods of time .
But , when the adult found food , it called the youngster who noisily met the adult half way . I can't be sure , but I think the food was a dragonfly larva , possibly an Emperor . It was a large meal for
one so small , I must admit it brought back memories of the Cormorant and the Pike . This species failed to fledge any youngsters last year , due mainly I think to predation by Grey Herons . Sadly , the same could well happen this year , as two Grey Herons attempted to land whilst I was there , and with the little one being left on it's own --- . The two Herons circled the lake twice before flying off ,
one of them flying more like a Crane than a Heron .


Marianne said...

A very interesting post. The Beautiful Yellow Underwing really is gorgeous! Hope the young grebe manages to avoid the herons' attention.

ShySongbird said...

An interesting post as always Greenie. My goodness, that Little Grebe youngster had a meal and a half there!! Well captured! Lovely photo of the Beautiful Yellow Underwing.

Rob said...

Lovely variety of shapes and colours among the inverts, Greenie - I can't keep pace with it all, but you seem to.

Isn't the Salad Burnet a cracking little plant - it resembles something from the undersea world.

Anonymous said...

Your jumping spider is Evarcha falcata.