Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Wednesday 27th. June 2012

The bird survey at Down House this morning produced one of the best results since I started doing some 12 years ago . Perhaps not in quality , but the average species count of mid to high teens , was raised to 25 today . Nothing out of the ordinary , but Yellowhammer , Garden Warbler and Swallow were all good to record .  Whilst going round , I recorded butterflies as usual , but , apart from Meadow Browns , which were abundant , Small Tortoiseshell (1) , Small Heath (4) , Ringlet (3) and Large Skipper (2) were the only species to make the notebook . I did have a couple of long distance sightings that were probably Dark Green Fritillary , but didn't see them well enough for a positive ID . Whilst in the Sandwalk Woodland , I checked for the Violet Helleborines , finding just a single specimen , it's leaves suffused with violet ,
rather than the normal grey/green . Now the hope is that the Deer don't find it . From there , I headed for High Elms to check up on the Yellow Birdsnest . After finding 20 odd specimens , I told a fellow enthusiast , who proceeded to find 60 odd when he visited . This morning I counted 146 specimens and felt quite pleased with that number , only to be out-trumped by the Ranger of the site , who
informed me by email that they had counted 300+ specimens last evening . This is just one small patch of this 'rare' plant . I can only think that the conditions this year were just perfect , but it doesn't explain why they seem to be just in one small area of the woods . Before leaving , I checked on the places where I would expect to find White Admiral and Silver-washed Fritillary , but found nothing .
After a banana and an energy bar in the car , I headed to the set aside farm , further along the valley , to do the butterfly transect , still in humid , bright conditions , ideal for butterflies . Nine species were recorded , but once again , apart from Meadow Brown the other 8 species were all small in number .
the best of which were the only Marbled White seen , a very fresh looking male , and one of four
Large Skippers recorded , with not a sign of a single Small Skipper , and a pair of Brimstones , spiralling every higher in courtship , whilst being blown over the top of the slope by the freshening breeze . Given that the meadow was full of nectar holding plants , the results , like elsewhere , were very disappointing . Again on this visit , I saw a female Roe Deer , but right across the other side of the meadow , and she didn't hang around to wait for me to get over there . A couple of interesting plants found on the way round , Field Madder /
Sherardia arvensis , a member of the Bedstraw family , and a plant that I usually see less than 50 cms.
high , was found almost 2 mtrs high , Viper's Bugloss / Echium vulgare , a member of the Borage
family . The Viper part of the name I believe comes from the flower heads when young , looking like a snake's tongue . And finally , a moth found on a field gate at Down House . I think it might be Light
Arches , but with my track record , I wouldn't put any money on it .


Spock said...

I also think its a Light Arches.

My comment on Ghost Orchid still stands, if its a good year for Yellow Birdsnest, it should be the conditions for Ghost O. So August should be interesting.

ShySongbird said...

That Marbled White is a pristine beauty Greenie and the Yellow Birdsnest do seem to be doing extraordinarily well there!