Saturday, 9 June 2012

Saturday 9th. June 2012

Well , at least it wasn't raining as I set off to do the High Elms butterfly transect this morning . The wind was still gusting strongly with plenty of cloud , but it wasn't raining . The car thermometer was reading 14C when I arrived and hopes were high , after being stuck indoors for the last two days , and having recorded 11 species on the last transect . But today , I recorded 3 species , with a total of
4 butterflies , 2 Small Heath , and one each of Common Blue and Grizzled Skipper , pictured hanging on for dear life in the wind  , a most disappointing visit . Fortunately , other interest was found on the
 two hour transect , including the first Pyramidal Orchids in flower on the Conservation Field , a surviving Orange Tip caterpillar , following the mowing of the path edges , only saved by being just
out of reach of the mower . Having hatched out , now feeding on the seed pods of the Garlic Mustard / Jack by the Hedge , one of the species' food plants . I found a third Bee Orchid on Burnt
Gorse , then another on the Orchid Bank , hopefully more will be found soon . Right down at the
bottom of the reserve , 30+ Bird's Nest Orchids , the least colourful of the family , were recorded , along with many White Helleborine . On the Orchid Bank itself , lots of Common Twayblades ,
Common Spotted Orchids , pictured , now in full flower  , a single Man Orchid and a few Fly Orchids were also recorded . On the way home , I called in up on the Common , to see if there was more to find there . The Brimstone caterpillars have grown , having munched their way through
many Buckthorn leaves , and in one of the glades , both Small Copper and Common Blue posed for a

shot , making it equal with High Elms on species when adding the 6 Small Heaths recorded , then
going in front with a fresh Speckled Wood ., then to top off the visit , my first Meadow Browns of the year , when 2 specimens lifted out of the grass in front of me , but failed to stop for a shot .
And finally , help please with a Crane Fly type insect , but much more colourful than the usual
specimens , found on my way back to the car at High Elms . After much digging , I think that this is a female Ctenophora pectinicornis ( and that's not easy to say ) , but have asked my friendly entomologist to confirm , or not , as the case might be .


kirstallcreatures said...

Hello Greenie, thanks so much for taking the time to look at my photos of the Small Copper butterflies and for responding. Its comforting to read that its not so easy to distinguish between the sexes, something that is difficult to ascertain from a guide book. I struggled with the 'pointedness of forewing' factor and came to the conclusion that I must have a pointed forewing blindness, so I'm glad thats not the case! Thanks again for your help, I really appreciate it. Linda

kirstallcreatures said...

Lovely photos of the orchids, especially the Bee Orchid.

Rob said...

Fantastic array of insects and orchids, Greenie. Your Bee Orchids are more advanced than ours by a long stalk. That last fly is spectacular.

ShySongbird said...

Hi Greenie, Like you with my gull, I am pleased you got your insect sorted out, I tried yesterday evening but didn't get anywhere at all which isn't surprising as my Collins 'Complete' Guide to British Insects didn't include it...not so 'complete' after all then! On the Internet it was difficult to know where to start so very well done for tracking it down. My book does have another in the same family but not that particular one.

Anyway! I thoroughly enjoyed your post especially as you had been orchid hunting too ;-) You found some lovely ones. I do love the Bee Orchid, it really does look like there is a bee on the flower, so pretty. I have to confess that had I ever come across a Bird's Nest Orchid I may well not have realised what I was looking at and (horror of horrors!) overlooked it!!

A shame about the windy conditions re. the butterflies but you still managed some lovely photos. A lovely post Greenie! Sorry for the overly long comment.

Warren Baker said...

The wind is a particular annoyance at this time of year :-)

As you say on my blog Greenie, butterflies are getting a pasting, next year it may well be a hard job finding any.