Monday, 18 June 2012

Monday 18th. June 2012

It took till lunchtime for the grey skies to start to break up , but it did eventually happen , and in mixed conditions , but without the strong wind , I set off for a look around Spring Park Pond . The first noticeable thing was that the level had risen , almost to overflowing , and when I spoke to the Ranger later , he said that the spring fed pond had 'flushed through' at least twice during recent heavy rain , which probably means that some of the small species got washed out onto the meadow , which is the last thing that was needed following the cool Spring/early Summer . It didn't seem to bother the
Smooth / Common Newts though , as there was still plenty of courting going on . Apart from them , tadpoles and a few Large Red , Common Blue and Azure Damselflies , very little other interest was found so I made my way to the small meadow , checking out the vegetation on the way . A Yellow
Shell moth was found resting , but just two Small Whites were the only butterflies recorded during
the visit . In the small meadow , a Crab Spider / Xysticus cristatus , for once without prey , showed how well named this species is . Everywhere I looked , there were Harlequin Ladybirds , it would appear that the conditions have been to their liking , and , if you have ever wondered how all the
different patterns in which the species can be found , perhaps this could be the answer . Very few of
our native Ladybirds were found , but I did find the odd 7-spot larva , but it was well outnumbered by the Asian immigrants . On the way back to the pond , Hedge Woundwort / Stachys sylvaica , a
member of the Labiate family was found , just coming into flower . I arrived back at the pond just as a sunny spell started and found a male Broad-bodied Chaser at rest out in the middle . As I watched , a female flew in , did a couple of circuits of the pond and flew off , without the male even noticing . A few minutes later , she re-appeared and this time she was seen and the male grabbed her and mated in flight . One day I will get a decent shot of that , but it wasn't to be today . She immediately started
laying her eggs in the warmer margins of the pond , first , hovering over the intended area , then
dipping the end of her abdomen into the water and releasing a single egg each time she did so , and
I'm pleased that for once I remembered to crank up the shutter speed to 1/4000th.sec. , giving a frozen effect on the beating wings . Whilst she was busy laying , the male patrolled very close , ready to
fight off any other suitor that came by . That sun also encouraged the damselflies , and it wasn't long
 before these Azure Blue Damselflies started doing what they needed to do . And finally , I wonder what it must be like to spend your life on your back , looking at the sky and paddling backwards , like
the Water Boatman / Corixa punctata ?
On an 'away day' tomorrow , and as wildlife is involved it could be brilliant or a let down , I just hope it's the first .


Warren Baker said...

Good luck tomorrow then Greenie. :-)

Like the Chaser in flight shots, well done for remembering to set the Camera, something I also forget to do!

.........thanks for the Odenata lesson on mine :-)

ShySongbird said...

Well done with those BbC shots Greenie, excellent stuff! The Water Boatman does look rather carefree and abandoned.

Have fun tomorrow and that your target/s cooperate :-) I'm sure you will come up with something interesting.

ShySongbird said...

Sorry Greenie, that should have said 'and I hope that your target/s cooperate'.

Phil said...

Nice on the wing dragon shots today Greenie. Quite a lot of 'adult' content too. A PG rating at the very least, not sure if they even have those nowadays!
My money is on your day falling into the brilliant category tomorrow.

Mike H said...

Great dragon flight shots Greenie, i know how hard that is to achieve following my efforts at Sissinghurst recently. Enjoy the day tomorrow and I look forward to finding out the outcome as probably many others do.

Rodney Compton said...

Hi Its Rod at Norman Park

The little owls are feeding an owlet.

Do you know where in High Elms the white letters are - London Butterfly Survey - i am adding film to the stills and records pages. Found the old colony (1926) of the small blue butterfly at Fackenden again (27 years after I first recorded it - 1st day emergents).

Greenie said...

Rod ,
Thanks for the LO info .
The best area for the WLH at High Elms is the unfenced area at the end of the Orchid Bank . Their master tree is a Wych Elm in the adjacent woodland . They are usually later than others of the species , probably because of the higher ground .