Thursday, 16 May 2013

Thursday 16th. May 2013

With the other surveyor away , I headed off this morning up onto the Downs to do the reptile survey . I arrived in mist , but the sun soon burnt that off and brought the temperature up to about 12C . , ideal for reptiles I thought to myself . But , how wrong can one be ? Three hours on the Downs produced not a single Adder , Grass Snake or Common Lizard , had it not been for the 20 Slow Worms
recorded , it would have been a total wipeout . Early Purple Orchids did their best to make up for the
lack of reptiles , with 54 flower spikes in one area , and another 25 about a quarter of a mile away . As usual , I combined recording butterflies , and strangely they were very one sided too . 35 butterflies were recorded from five species , but 29 of them were Dingy Skippers , like this one
nectaring on Common Milkwort - Polygala vulgaris , which is just coming into flower . All the Com. Milkwort seen today was Royal Blue in colour , but mauve , pink , white and combinations of all the colours can be found . Just one Green Hairstreak was recorded , and looked as if it had been many
aerial battles , having lost lots of the green scales that give it it's colour , revealing the brown below , which is the colour of it's upper wings . Of interest , the Green is the only British Hairstreak , not to have tails on the back edge of the wing . A pair of Yellowhammer and a singing male were seen / heard , along with the usual Warblers , Blackcap , Chiffchaff and Common Whitethroat , but nothing more exciting . The hedges were alive with St. Mark's Flies , the first I've seen this year , and well
late , as they are due to appear on St. Mark's Day the 25th. April , but seemed to be doing their best to
 make up for lost time . As if to make up for them , the Noon Fly turned up at 1130 . And talking
flies , the Scorpion Fly , this one is a male , identified by the orange scorpion-like tail , never ceases to amaze me , but I suppose it's mother loves it . A hoverfly led me a merry chase , but I was sure that I hadn't seen this particular species before . I've done some digging since coming home and think that
it is Xanthogramma citrofasciatum , but wouldn't put money on it , if I had any . If it is the correct ID , from what I've read it is quite uncommon . I have also been trying to identify a Weevil type beetle
that I also came across . It was about 1.5cms. long , which to me seems large for a Weevil . Any ideas would be appreciated . Lastly , large numbers of large Roman Snails , which they brought with them
for eating , were enjoying the damp conditions following the mist , I can't say the same for my walking boots .
On my way back , I stopped at the small reserve where the 'tree laying' was done , but that too was very quiet , with just a few Orange Tips and Green-veined Whites found on the wing , but also on the
wing was my first Broad-bodied Chaser of the year , a very flighty individual , most probably a male as they emerge first , but all new emergents are this colour , the male abdomen turning to powder blue later , the female remaining the same colouration . Only other interest found was one of many
Water Boatmen - Notonecta glauca , a species that lives it's life upside down .
I did stop at Bough Beech Reservoir as I was passing , but will post that enjoyable visit tomorrow .


Warren Baker said...

I had noted the lateness of the st. Marks Fly too greenie, been out about 4 days here.

No luck with those Green Hairstreaks though :-(

Greg said...

Your weevil is Liparus coronatus.

Best wishes,