Monday, 2 July 2012

Monday 2nd. July 2012

With the weather not looking good for the start of the week , I managed to get a pass on Sunday for a visit to Thursley Common in Surrey , once a mecca for Odonata enthusiasts . To get there , I had to almost pass the Silver-studded Blue butterfly site that Keith and I dipped on after our West Country visits for the Large Blue and Marsh Fritillary . Since that dip , I have tried to find out exactly where they could be found in the large area of Esher Common . I read about a tarmac area where model planes were flown , which has since been removed , and the Google map showed the tarmac area , so I was pretty sure I had the right place . I pulled into the small , empty car park , and although windy , it was reasonably mild . Within a minute of leaving the car , I had found my first SSB , still at roost on a Gorse bush , I had found the right place . As the sun got higher more SSBs were found , but it was good to find them whilst they were still warming up , as once warmed , they did not stay still for
long , especially the males , which whe warmed up , charged around the site with just one thing on their mind . A few of the males were showing that they had been emerged for some time , whilst others , like the one photographed were very frsh , and I even found the odd specimen like this one ,
that had literally just emerged , climbed a support , and was inflating and drying his wings . Their objective of course , was to find a female and to mate with her . Like many of the Blues , the female
of this species is brown . Many of the females were tucked down in the Bell Heather plants , trying to keep out of the way of the males , but this one was out in the open , so I took up staion near her in the hope that I would get a mating pair shot . Being out in the open , she was approached on a regular
basis by males , but each time , she fluttered her wings and lifted her abdomen , and that was enough
to discourage the males and off they would fly , here another male gets the 'no thank you' from another female , and no mating shot for me  . As I said on my last Asdown Forest post the 'silver-studded' in the species name , shows up better on the underwing of the female , and even though this
specimen was in the shade , the blue 'studs' in the black spots are more pronounced than on the male . As I walked around the small part of the whole Common , I passed an entrance barrier , and looking 150 metres up the road , I could see a layby that we arrived at and turned right , had we turned left , we would probably found the area . I was looking for butterflies , but this female Kestrel
was seen , looking for her breakfast . Found amongst the Bell Heather , I found this Digger Wasp /
Ammophila sabulosa , quite an incredible insect , about 3cms long , with its thorax and tail connected by the thinist 'wasp waist' that I have ever seen . No doubt this too was looking for a meal , in it's case that would be aphids , flies , beetles and many other insects .The yellow flower theme continued on
this site , with what I could only describe a 'yellow wall' of Great Mullein / Verbascum thapsus , a member of the Figwort family  , and this was just one small patch of it , and Large-flowered Evening
Primrose / Oenothera erythrosepala , a member of the Willowherb family . Yellow didn't have it all it's own way though , with several specimens of Common Centaury / Centaurium erythraea a member
of the Gentian family , doing it's best for pink . After a most enjoyable one and a half hours , I left the site without the mating pair shot , and heading down the A3 towards Guildford , the sky getting greyer and greyer , but more of that tomorrow .


Warren Baker said...

Another successful morning then Greenie :-) Those SSB are a stunning ''blue'' but then again all the blues are little stunners :-)

Rob said...

That's a great photo of an impressive wasp there, Greenie - we get that species on the sandstone cliffs here but I've yet to grab a decent shot of one.

ShySongbird said...

Well done Greenie, it is a delightful little butterfly although of course I think that of all butterflies! Considering what a dreadful year it is you are doing extremely well due of course to your knowledge and field craft. You took some lovely photos of them.

That Digger Wasp is a very odd looking creature!

Love the Common Centaury photo, very pretty.