Saturday, 23 June 2012

Saturday 23rd. June 2012

The plan was to do the High Elms butterfly transect this morning , but , since the time , I have felt cheated by the weather , especially the wind , when photographing the Glanville Fritillary the other afternoon , so , after dropping Carol off , I went back to the site . I returned to the same area , but
there was no sign . I extended my search which did produce my first Ringlet of the year , looking very fresh in the early sunshine , but no Fritillary . Another movement turned out to be a Silver Y
moth , shivering as it tried to warm up , no doubt wishing it had stayed on the continent . I even started looking at plants as there was so little about , and found several specimens of Hoary Plantain /
Plantago media , with it's colourful pinkish-lilac stamens . Then , just as I was about to give up and
move on , in a spot very close to where I saw the other specimen , the same , or another Fritillary was warming up for the day . Once again , the wind was making things awkward , blowing vegetation around , and although I kept willing it to do so , it just wouldn't fold it's wings and show the
underwing . So , it was down to lying down on the wet vegetation and trying for the best shot available . Once again , it was the only one I saw , but at least I had 5/6 minutes , before it was warm enough and flew off . Moving on to High Elms , I started the transect in reasonable conditions , but once again , it was very wet underfoot , and from the few sightings in the unfenced Conservation Field , it appeared that things hadn't improved much over the week since the last transect . On the way up to Burnt Gorse , just one Orange Tip caterpillar was showing , but from the size of this one ,
 the other could well have pupated , hopefully not having been predated . Burnt Gorse itself was very quiet , with just a few butterflies recorded , but the hoverfly Volucella pellucens , with it's white
cummerbund , and one of the biting horse-flies , I believe it to be a female Tabanus bromius , but as
always , stand to be corrected , supplied some interest . I tried to move around to get her multi coloured eyes in the sunlight , but it was having none of it , and flew off . I did find a fifth Bee
Orchid , which definitely wasn't showing last week , with one of it's flowers just opening from bud ,
soon it will be open in all it's glory like the others . The small glades only held
the odd Meadow Brown - pictured , and a first Ringlet of the year for the site , this one settling with
wings closed to show the underwing . On the way back to the car , a Speckled Wood flew across my
path and posed , what else could I do ?  The totals recorded were , Meadow Brown  (28) , Common Blue (2) , Speckled Wood (4) , Ringlet (3) and Large Skipper 1 , still terribly low . Within sight of the car , I met a chap who was looking for Orchids , and stopped for a chat . He had seen all the species that I had come across , then mentioned a 'strange one' that he had found . He described it , and it sounded very much like the Yellow Birdsnest . Fortunately he had a camera and had photographed 'some of them' . Sure enough , it was Yellow Birdsnest , so I asked how many he has seen , '5 or 6' was the reply . I asked him where he had seen them , and he described the path where I had photographed it last week , but further off the path . Lunch went on hold , whilst I returned to the area . After a bit of searching , I spotted three plants , and after much more , found at least 20 plants ,
although a few were damaged , probably slugs or snails . Great find , but more butterflies would be good too , as I have Kent Butterfly Conservation  coming to visit in four weeks time .


Rob said...

Nice to know the Ringlets are about, Greenie.
Not so keen on the horse flies though!

Marc Heath said...

Cheers for the update Greenie on the Frits, nice to know there is a colony knocking on the door of Kent! Nice set of shots again. I had hoped for a Ringlet myself today.

Warren Baker said...

still hard going out there for the flutters Greenie, and us watchers!

Ive only ever had one tatty old ringlet here, must be due another soon :-)

ShySongbird said...

Well done with the Fritillary again Greenie. Also on the Yellow Birdsnest. It really is the most curious looking plant and very easily overlooked I should think! The Bee is definitely my favourite orchid, really lovely.