Friday, 10 August 2012

Friday 10th. August 2012

A round up of the week so far . Monday the car was back in the garage again , but hopefully they think they have solved the problem , once they get hold of a spare part . So I spent the day helping Carol in the garden , which didn't work out bad at all , as 9 species of butterfly were recorded , in
between gardening of course , which included a pristine female Red Admiral that was happy to pose ,
along with a fresh Peacock , the first seen for quite a while , but the 1 or 2 Holly Blues that were chasing around the garden , were not so obliging . Having received a call from a fellow enthusiast , I spent the best part of Tuesday , making another concerted effort to find a White-letter Hairstreak , up
at High Elms . The effort did pay off with a rather worn specimen , the other side had significant damage , looking like it had been out for some time , being found in the lower glade , but at least the
species was present . In the same glade , I must admit that I was distracted by this incredible looking fly , that was feeding near the WLH . Apart from those incredible wings and eyes , the front of the thorax was covered in orange hairs , as can be seen on this shot . I'm still trying to identify the species . Well , if there was an Olympic Gold Medal for 'Identifying the difficult species' , it should be presented to ShySongbird / ShySongbird's Nature News , for identifying the above fly as being Phasia hemiptera .Thank you very much , once again ( you'll just have to imagine God save the Queen being played in the background , and the applause of the crowd ) . I checked the other usual glades for WLH , but found none . On the end of the Orchid Bank ,
with the cloud really filling in , I managed to get a better shot of the Ectemnius sp. / Square-headed Wasp , this time nectaring on Wild Parsnip , not carrying it's prey . Only other interest found was this small moth , which to me looked like an ermine species , but it was too small , no thicker than a
match stick , another work in progress for the identity . Wednesday was a return to High Elms , but to do the full butterfly transect . Once again cloud rolled in half way through , which didn't help . 12 species were recorded , but I failed again with the WLH , and only recorded 3 SWFs , but did record a female Brimstone , the first for a couple of weeks . With better weather forecasted , I made an early start yesterday , in search of Silver-spotted Skipper , 2nd. brood Adonis Blue and Autumn Ladies Tresses , up on Denbies Hillside , above Dorking in Surrey . A very hot , tiring visit on the steep slope , with just a glimpse of two SSSs that were jet-propelled in the heat , and definitely not in posing mode . Not the same problem with Adonis Blue , as I , nore anyone else that I spoke to on site , saw a single specimen . Knowing that the first brood was very poor because of the weather at the time , this does not bode well , but I suppose they still have time . Other species recorded included Small Heath 4 , Brimstone 3 , Peacock 2 , Small Skipper 2 , Brown Argus 1 , Marbled White 3 , Gatekeeper 25+ , Meadow Brown 25+ and Chalkhill Blue , thousands , literally thousands . I have seen lots up on the Downs locally , but the numbers on this site were incredible . The males at times were like snow falling , lots of single females trying to hide from the males , and so many mating pairs , I couldn't keep count , but would estimate 75/100 at least . Even when a male found a partner ,
there was always someone trying to muscle in on the pair , sometimes three or four other males got involved . Several times I watched up to ten males chasing after a single female that one of them had flushed from her hiding place amongst the grass . Even when a Meadow Brown took to the wing , every male CHB in the vicinity chased after it , until they realised their mistake . I met another chap who said that the numbers reminded him of his youth in the 50s , and another of being in the Pyrenees . I've been reading that large numbers are on the wing in Sussex as well , so at least this species has managed to buck the trend . Mind you , with so many around , any droppings look like
McDonalds had opened a new take-away , with standing room only . Interestingly , it was only males that were found at McDonalds . Other interest found whilst on site were Clustered Bellflower /
Campanula glomerata , and a parasitic , climbing species , that seems to be not doing very well on site , Common Dodder / Cuscuta epithymum , a member of the Bindweed family , as I found only a
few specimens this visit , in previous years , it has been found in good numbers . With the humidity , there were quite a few biting flies around . A small multi coloured one plagued me for ages , but even
so , did not allow a shot , but a larger one , Tabanus bovinus / Pale Giant Horse Fly , did pose , but with the light not right , it did not show off it's multi coloured eyes . I had intended to roll in today's visit , but it proved fruitful , and will post again soon .


Spock said...

Hi Greenie

we have two walks over Denbies this weekend will let you know of any Adonis. We had a Possible Male Adonis last sunday on Box Hill, but a thunder stom came in and we lost sight of the butterfly.

Warren Baker said...

Blimey, Chalk hill blue plague! I've Still never seen one :-)

I dont know what that fly is, but thats a real good macro photo of it greenie, nice one :-)

Phil said...

That's a cracking fly Greenie, i've looked in my books but can't ID it so far, maybe you've stumbled on a new species! Greeniefly maybe:-)
As for the Chalkhill Blues, well, with the country under several inches of dog pooh, i'm not surprised there were thousands of them!
On a serious note, nice post. Looking forward to the next installment.

RogerW said...

Great photo of the fly, against the yellow... but I can't help with an id.

Hmmm. I'm sure McDonalds would appreciate the analogy :)

ShySongbird said...

A most interesting round up Greenie which I will come back to enjoy later as am in a tearing rush but your beautiful unknown fly is I think Phasia hemiptera.

ShySongbird said...

Hi again Greenie. Thank you I have the medal around my neck, a broad grin on my face and the applause from the crowd is deafening :-)

Well, what a week you had! Sorry to read about the car, it does seem to cause you some problems but I suppose it gets quite a bashing with all your travels.

Anyway, a most enjoyable read and lovely photos. That fly really is incredible looking! The number of Chalkhill Blues is also incredible, what an amazing sight they must have been. I too was on a very steep, hot and tiring slope yesterday and saw some Chalkhills but not in such enormous numbers. Well done too with the W-l H another great find.

Spock said...

We had 2 male Adonis Blues on Denbies Hillsidde today (Sunday 12th) so they should be appearing in the next week if it stays hot.