Friday, 20 July 2012

Friday 20th. July 2012

Between things to do and the weather , the last two days have been a case of getting out when possible , but not too far , so the local Commons fitted the situation nicely . Still waiting for real butterfly weather , which hopefully arrives on Sunday , the day Kent BC are coming to High Elms for their visit , hedgerows and Bramble patches seemed to hold most of the interest . I started off yesterday looking for Purple Hairstreaks , but the weather soon put an end to that , but in the glade ,
my first Small Copper for quite some time , albeit passed it's sell by date , nectaring on Ragwort . Moving on to the other Common , a Bramble patch had me scratching my head , when I found some
small green Cricket type insects , with a bold black dorsal line . This was obviously a male , but even when I found a female , identified by the rather lethal looking ovipositor , I still wasn't sure what I
had been looking at . My insect field guide was no help , but on Googling 'green cricket with black marking , it became apparent that they were juvenile Coneheads , of which there are two species , Long-winged and Short-winged . As they were not fully grown , they didn't sport wings , so identity was down to ovipositors . The S-w species has an ovipositor that curves upwards , and the L-w species has a straight one , so the puzzle was solved . Strange thing was that I looked at lots of
Bramble bushes in the area , and just the one had this species on it . The same bush had both male
and female Roesel's Bush-criket , and both were willing to pose in the open , and in one of the few sunny spells . Only other interest found was a Nursery Web Spider that was guarding her newly
hatched young .
This morning , before the sun got blotted out by the cloud , I tried again for the PHs , in the glade with the Ash tree . I was just about to give up on any shots , although I did see 3/4 specimens up high . Then , the tell tale zig-zag flight of a Hairstreak crossed the glade and landed on some Bracken
on the other side . It was very twitchy , constantly on the move , and always with wings closed . It
flew a few times , but I managed to follow it , and eventually it opened it's wings , but the light was in the wrong direction , and the topwings looked a dull brown . A few frustrating minutes passed , a few
more moves , and finally with the light in the right direction , the reason the species gets it's name . A few seconds later it was gone , and this time I didn't see where it went . On one of the stands of
Bracken , another Crab Spider , yellow this time , but once again I can see it going hungry . It was then back to the Bramble bushes , where a chance to get male and female Speckled Bush-cricket in
 the same frame presented itself . The ovipositor of this species being scimitar shaped . The Brambles
 also produced one of the largest hoverflies , Volucella inanis . A pair of Chiffchaffs were not happy that I was around , and one was carrying food , so probably had a nest close by . The other one
scolded me from above , so I moved off quickly , and things quietened down again . On the way back
to the car , a Common Darter was posed on another Bramble bush , showing nicely the light coloured stripes on the legs which separates it from the all black legged Ruddy Darter . During a walk down
the garden in a bright spell this afternoon , a strange beetle caught my eye . This time the book worked , identifying it as a weevil , Otiorhynchus clavipes .
And finally , exactly one week after queueing 45 minutes to get over the Dartford Crossing , I have read that both the tunnel and bridge have both been paid for many years ago , and that the pair take
£1.25M every week . If a reasonable alternative was available then one could choose whether or not to queue , but there isn't , so continuous Governments just keep raking in the tolls .


Mike H said...

Great set of shots greenie, glad to see that you finally got to see a PH. Hopefully there will be more butterflies out for you and the rest of us at the weekend and next week with sun forecast again!

Phil said...

Nice mixed bag there Greenie. Still only had the one PH myself at New Hythe.
Dartford crossing is also one of the biggest polluters in the country I think, as well as being one of the biggest rip offs!!

ShySongbird said...

Lots of interest there Greenie! Well done on the PH. I enjoyed seeing the crickets, attractive little creatures I always think. Interesting to see the Nursery Web Spider too.

Warren Baker said...

Still awaiting any kind of photo of a PH on my patch this year Greenie. Next week looks promising though :-)