Saturday, 25 May 2013

Saturday 25th. May 2013

Firstly , many thanks to Greg , again , for helping with an ID , this time the large black Weevil I
found up on the Downs , which  he has identified as Liparus coronatus . Very little information on the web for this species , so a very good job by Greg .
This morning , with sunny spells between the clouds , I did the full butterfly survey at High Elms LNR , and over the 2 hour transect I recorded just 10 butterflies of just two species . Dingy Skipper
provided 7 of the 10 , and I was glad to find a tubby female on Burnt Gorse , hopefully full of eggs to ensure the species on site next year . The other species recorded was the Large White , finding a female first , and having to wait for the sun to come out and encourage her to show the black
identifying spots on her upperwing , the second brood in Aug/Sept. will have even darker markings . Later at the bottom of Burnt Gorse , I found a male just going to roost high up on a Wayfarer tree , as
another cloud rolled over the sun . He has no dark spots on the upperwing , but does show a dark spot on the underwing . Apart from those , a quick look at the Garlic Mustard in the coppiced area didn't produce the hoped for Orange Tip , but I did find 13 eggs , easier to see now that the petals are
dropping off and the seed pods , which the caterpillars will feed on , are growing very quickly . In the
 same area , a single robust spike of Early Purple Orchid is all that seems to have emerged this year . Once I finished the butterfly transect , I set off to see what other orchids were showing . Not a sign of Birdsnest Orchid at the old site , but 4 very fresh specimens at the site Keith found a couple of years
ago . Then 30+ were found , about 15 last year , so hopefully they will be in for a good year this time . As can been seen from the photo , this species lacks chlorophyll , and even when fully in flower , are still far from able to be described as colourful , and is always found growing in leaf litter , particularly under Beech and Yew on chalk soils . In the same sort of conditions , I found 50+
specimens of White Helleborine , most still in their early stages , but a few were in flower bud . It looks like they could be in for a good year . Also found , unexpectedly , were a couple of fungi ,
being full of water , looking like miniature baths . I checked the books when I got home and think they are Peziza varia . On the Orchid Bank , the 3 Fly Orchids are now 7 , all with at least one
flower , and also found was a single Man Orchid , just starting to come into flower . The Common
Spotted Orchids won't be far behind , with several specimens sporting flower spikes . Whilst on the Bank a pair of Sparrowhawks were soaring overhead and calling , and a Common Buzzard drifted over high up .
Surprisingly , I did better this afternoon for butterflies when I had an hour up on the Common . 4 Brimstone ( + several caterpillars ) , 1 Orange Tip , 1 Holly Blue and 1 Large and 1 Small White were recorded . Other interest found included several specimens of Broad-leaved Helleborine , this
one pushing through alongside last year's flower spike , and a Common Lizard found sunning itself in
the heathland area .

1 comment:

Spock said...

The Birds-Nest Orchid and White Helleborine seem to be a couple of weeks behind still, and the Man Orchid is very late. Hope to do the Hutchinsons Bank transect on Sunday.

Great picture of the Orange Tip egg.

Large Whites seem to be having a good year.