Friday, 27 July 2012

Friday 27th. July 2012

Catching up on the last couple of days , on Thursday with the hot , sunny weather continuing , I decided to see how the Reptiles and Dormice were getting on , up on the Greensand Ridge . Once again , the temperature was about 20C on my arrival , but what was found was definitely not the same as yesterday . As some of the refugia were still in shade , I concentrated on the Dormice to begin with , and in the fourth box , found a male and female . Both were in good condition , and hopefully
will breed successfully . This was the male , just before I posted him back into his home . With all the rain earlier , and now the warmth , the vegetation around the site has gone crazy and at times it felt like battling through a jungle . Almost at the end of the boxes , another male and female were found , and hopes of another family from them in the future . With things warming up , I turned my attention

to the refugia , but as I said it was nothing like yesterday . A single Grass Snake and two Slow Worms , one minus the end of it's tail , amazing the difference in two sites not that far apart . The only Adder found was a dead one , basically the skin and the backbone was all that was left of the reptile , the rest having been eaten away 'by nature' . Eight species of butterfly , including this
Comma were recorded , apart from Meadow Brown , most of the rest were singletons .
In the afternoon I had a look at Spring Park Pond , which held a few species of damselfly , but no

dragonflies . Of interest around the pond I found Common Hemp-nettle / Galeopsis tetrahit , worthy
of better than a 'Common' name , Water Mint / Mentha aquatica , both members of the large Labiate
family , and just starting to flower , Purple Loosetrife / Lythrum salicaria . A few butterflies were recorded around the pond , but things improved when I visited the small meadow , having fought my way through Bracken that was far taller than myself . Small Skippers , Gatekeepers and a single Marbled White and my first Brown Argus for some considerable time , were some of those recorded , but pride of place went to a female Red Admiral that was flitting between Stinging Nettles on the edge . As I got closer , and constantly stung for my
efforts , I could see that she was egg laying , on selected Nettles . Never staying still for any length of time , this was the only shot I managed of her . When she stopped in a more open area , I took note of where she appeared to lay an egg , and when she moved off , I checked the Nettle leaf , and there was
her single egg , attached to the leaf . This species lays single eggs , unlike their relatives , the Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell , which lay multiple eggs on a given plant . In total nine species were recorded during the visit . I had another look at the pond before leaving , little had changed , but I did get the opportunity to photograph the two forms of female Azure Damselfly . 90% of the female
population are of the green form like the one here ovipositing , but the odd 10% is made up of the
blue form , pictured above .
This morning , I had a run to the tip / recycling depot , so also visited the cemetery and the adjacent Country Park . I obviously chose the wrong time to go as had to queue for nearly half an hour to get in . When I finally got to the Country Park , it was very quiet , and muggy . Still young Coots and
Moorhens around , young of the latter getting a preening lesson from one of the adults . Most unexpected sighting was a really young family of Great Crested Grebe , with one of the offspring still
getting a ride by the adult . They were well out in the lake and I only had the 100mm. macro lens with me , hence the long distance shot . After a while the family moved off behind the island , so I made my way to the next feeding platform around the lake . As I approached the platform , I could
hear the constant calling of the youngsters , and was pleased to find them much nearer than before . As can bee seen , the three all being different sizes . They waited together whilst the adults searched and found a steady stream of food for them .
This afternoon , I spent a couple of hours at High Elms in another attempt to located any White-letter Hairstreaks . The bottom line was that I failed to get a single sighting , and a week on from the BC visit , Silver-washed Fritillary numbers do not seem to have increased as would have been expected .
I found 3 perhaps 4 females , one pictured , added to them some 5 or 6 males , the total population would not be more than 10/12 , quite a dip from the 35/40 recorded a couple of years ago . I shall keep looking for the WLHs , I just hope we haven't lost them . On the way around , a Broad-leaved
Helleborine , a bit more colourful than the one on the Common , was found in flower . Only other
interest found was this Silver-ground Carpet moth , I think .


Rohrerbot said...

You are brave snake charmer:) Love your walk today. I'm glad you sun again. I can only imagine how the vegetation is responding after all that rain and no must be out of control! The comma is such a beautiful butterfly.

Warren Baker said...

Another packed day Greenie, just about saw a bit of everything :-)

Looking hard for those Brown Argus here too, without much luck though!

Phil said...

That little Dormouse brings back memories Greenie!
Bad luck with the WLH i'm sure you'll find some eventually, just reinforces how bad things have been this year. The only Brown Argus i've seen was at Dungie on wednesday.
Nice stripey Grebe shot.

ShySongbird said...

Lovely to see the Dormouse Greenie, lovely photo too. Good to see the Red Admiral egg laying.

I am not having much luck in my quest for a SWF photo, I have only seen them zipping past and one briefly settled but too briefly for the camera! Unfortunately I don't get any fritillaries on my local patch.

Nice to see the GCG youngsters :-)

Anonymous said...

Common Carpet...Greenie.