Sunday, 29 July 2012

Sunday 29th. July 2012

Didn't get out yesterday as we had visitors , so with heavy showers due after lunch , I got out early to do the Down House bird survey . Given the time of year , I didn't expect much , so wasn't too disappointed at what was recorded , and that was just 15 species , which could well have been a lot less had I not recorded 5 of those in the last few minutes of the visit . Only excitement was when I put up a female Roe Deer , down at the bottom of the big meadow . I got a few shots , but they were all rear end .On the way round , butterfly numbers were also poor , but 7 species were recorded : Large White 2 , Small Skipper 8 , Small White 2 , Green-veined White 2 , Gatekeeper 15 , Red Admiral 1
and Small Copper 3 . All three of the Small Coppers were pristine , and this one was of the abberation 'caerulepunctata' , sporting blue spots across the hindwing , above the copper bar . Whilst on the Sandwalk , I checked the Violet Helleborine found last visit . It is doing very well , but no
flowers have opened yet . It has also produced a second flower spike , and in the shaft of sunlight that it was standing in , the violet colouring on both stems showed well . Whilst photographing the VH , I heard movement in the vegetation in the small meadow beyond the cricket field , both of which adjoin the Sandwalk . As I crossed the cricket field , I did so in the cover of a large Hawthorn on the
hedgeline of the small meadow , and on looking through the hedgerow ,saw another female Roe Deer
grazing on the far side . After a short while , a male appeared out of the scrub behind and joined her . During the time I watched them , he mirrored every movement she made , until eventually they were lost to sight , behind the scrub . The male had a fine set of antlers , as this is rutting/mating time for the species , much earlier than the Red and Fallow . Talking of the rut , another sign of Autumn , with
 Blackberries starting to ripen , would imagine it will be a good crop this year , given all the rain . As I left the site , clouds were already building , and as usual , I made a stop at Keston Ponds , and a scan from the road found a family of Mandarin Ducks over on the far bank . I made my round , arriving behind them just as the heavens opened , but fortunately the shower didn't last long . I was surprised
to see such a young family , as the books say the species has one brood in April/May , and I photographed a juvenile on site a good two months ago . In one of the few sunny spells I found a pair
of Red Eyed Damselflies in tandem on the Lily leaves on the top pond , but no sign of the Small Red-eyed Damselflies that I was hoping to find . Back near the car , one of two male Black-tailed
Skimmers was holding territory on the edge of the middle pond . No sign of a female , but from the marks on the powder blue abdomen , this specimen had already done his duty .
And finally , before our visitors arrived yesterday , I found this female Ichneumon sp. I went for the
camera thinking she would be gone when I got back , which she had , but then returned a few minutes later . Now that is what I call an ovipositor .Although it doesn't show up well , the tip is white and looks incredible in flight . I tried to get a side on shot to show it better , but she decided she had had enough and disappeared .


ShySongbird said...

Another good read and varied selection Greenie. Nice to see the Roe Deer. I have noticed how much the berries are coming on! I noticed it with Elderberries a couple of days ago. Not at all keen on the use of the A word though ;-)

Great photo of the Mandarin family, lovely to see them. I have never seen any Mandarins in this area, I don't think they have reached us yet.

Rod C said...

The well worn marbled white is still around in the enclosed set aside West of Oakley road (beyond bromley cricket ground. I have added some more small film clips to my London Butterfly Survey - anyone can subscribe - I am trying to bring my own records for the 70/80s up to date with what is going on now - thanks Mr Greenie for pointing me to High Elms - a revelation

✿⊰♥⊱ FRANCE ✿ said...

Bonsoir ce partage est magnifique
la nature est si belle chez vous