Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Wednesday 23rd. May 2012

Spent the morning sorting out a new butterfly transect on a 'set aside' farm , further down the same valley that Burnt Gorse at High Elms is in . It is the same farm that I helped with the hedgelaying last Winter . Even though it was 15/16C , it wasn't long before the overnight dew on the lush vegetation had me thinking that wellies might have been a good idea . Heading off up the hill that overlooks one of the meadows , I was surprised to find a very late lamb being suckled by it's mother , and at the
 bottom of the windy hill , a Fox was sheltering on the edge of the woods . It allowed me to get so far , before it got up and disappeared into the vegetation . It looked quite a young one , with a very
shiny coat . Two Green Woodpeckers didn't allow me anywhere as close before they flew off into an Ash tree . Down in the first meadow I was struggling to record my first butterfly , but eventually a Green-veined and a Small White took pity on me and flew by . A yellow and black ladybird caught
my eye , but I had to look it up to identify it as a 14 spot species / Propylea 14-punctata . Over the far side of the meadow I found the pappus / seed head of several large specimens of Coltsfoot , probably
the tallest that I can remember . I then started finding Green Hairstreaks along the woodland edge , five in this meadow and four in the other large meadow across the lane . One of the nine had a
deformed wing , which gave the rare opportunity to see the topwing of this species as they always settle with wings closed , ad in flight , the brown colour of the topwing makes them very difficult to follow . A few more species entered the book , but still very few in number , they were , Small White (2) , Green-veined White (1) , Large White (7) , Green Hairstreak (9) , Orange Tip (7) , Small Heath (1) , Brimstone (3) , Holly Blue (1) and Dingy Skipper (1) . A couple of day flying Burnet
Companion moths were also found , including this very fresh specimen . The biggest surprise of the visit was a Roe Deer that appeared out of bushes just in front of me , raced down the field edge , and
jumped the fence into the woodland . I only had the 100mm. lens on and by the time I got it in the viewfinder , it was well down the field . All in all , a most enjoyable two and a half hours and I'm certain that when the grassland butterfly species emerge , there will be a lot more to record . A couple of bits of interest around the pond in the far meadow , lots of exuvia of damselflies on the emergent
vegetation , this one belonged to a Large Red Damselfly , before it took to the air , and a small green beetle that I didn't recognise . It seems to be a Green Tortoise Beetle / Cassida viridis , one of the leaf
 beetles . The visit was finished off with a Common Buzzard drifting overhead . They breed in this
valley .

1 comment:

ShySongbird said...

My goodness, that Roe Deer was going at speed, great capture Greenie! Also a great capture of the Fox.

The moth does look very pristine and as ever I'm very envious of the Green Hairstreaks! I have never found them in my immediate area at all. I have seen a 14 spot Ladybird once, a year or so ago but didn't manage a decent photo.