Friday, 14 June 2013

Friday 14th. June 2013

Firstly , a catch up on a very quick visit in a slightly period up on the Common , yesterday afternoon .
Although it was still very windy , I found two Orange Footmen , I think , that must have been trapped low down because of that wind , as they are not a day flying species . I also found two specimens of the day flying Beautiful Yellow Underwing  moth , but both were being blown all over the place . Hopefully I'll get another opportunity with them . Also found , a newly emerged Black-tailed
Skimmer . Like the Broad-bodied Chaser , all newly emerged specimens look the same , later the males' abdomens will turn powder blue , with a black tip . The females will stay as they emerge . Last find was a black and yellow insect , with markings that I don't think I've seen before , and bright
orange legs . I have done some digging , but haven't managed to ID it yet , any help would be appreciated .
Today , I had hoped to get some time in butterflying , but it started grey and windy , regardless , I headed for the Downs , and hoped . The first interest I came across was the larvae of the Glow
Worm / Lampyris noctiluca , which reminder me to have an evening in July and try and get some shots of the adults .

Fragrant Orchids look as if they are going to have a great year . I didn't count all I saw , but my estimate must be 1000+ . I also found 22 Man Orchids , must be many more there .
I re-found the Early Gentian , well one of the plants , which is still in flower with it's last . I am still waiting to hear from the Kent Plant Recorder to see if my ID has been confirmed .
Just a single Adder , a female , was recorded , but 27 Slow Worms also went into the book .

Butterflies recorded were abysmal , I really fear for thsis and more even , next year . If it hadn't been for what looked like a morning hatch of Common Blues , male above , female below , numbering 16 , just before reaching the car , I would have recorded just 8 butterflies of 3 species , and it's almost mid-Summer . 2 Small Heath and a worn Grizzled Skipper made up the poor recording . One European migrant was seen , in the form of a Silver Y moth . I did chase down another moth , being
buffeted by the wind , which I think might be Lace Border , but don't bet on it . Three plants caught my eye on the way round ,
Meadow Vetchling / Lathyrus pratensis , a member of the Pea family ,
deep in the woods , Sanicle / Sanicula europaea , a member of the Carrot family ,
and Wimbledon can't be far away with the first Wild Strawberry / Fragaria vesca , a member of the Rose family , fruit being found . I was heading home for lunch , but on the way , the skies lightened somewhat and even a glimpse of the sun was seen , so I decided to do the full butterfly transect at High Elms LNR , which was long overdue due to the poor weather conditions . I'm glad I did the transect , but just 15 butterflies of 6 species was all that was recorded . Common Blue (7) and Brimstone (4) , meant Large White , Peacock , Dingy Skipper and Grizzled Skipper all registered a singleton . Day flying moths , Burnet Companion (3) , Mother Shipton (1) and Silver Y (2) were also recorded . The 4 Brimstones were all on Burnt Gorse  and shortly after spotting them , 2 of the 3 males attempted to mate with the female . They tried for ages , but she was having none of it . I got a
good number of shots of the topwing of both the males and the female , showing the orange spot on each wing , a sight that is not often seen as they always rest with wings closed . I felt sure that I was going to get a mating pair at long last , but the two males gave up in the end and the female flew off and hid in the vegetation . I checked the Orange Tip eggs on the Garlic Mustard in the coppice area ,
and they were no longer to be seen , having hatched into caterpillars , the next stage in their life . After feeding up , they will pupate , and spend the rest of this year and early next year as a chrysalis , to emerge as adults in late Spring . The Birdsnet Orchids have increased to 18 , but I'm sure some of
the originals have been eaten , and the White Helleborines in flowers must number 100+ at least . On the way back to the car , and dying for a cup of tea , I came across these two Red and Black
Leafhoppers in a Buttercup flower . Don't know what they were doing , but they looked very contented with their lot .


Spock said...

The only ever chance you will get of a female upperside, or ever rarer male upperside of a brimstone. great action shot.

ShySongbird said...

An interesting mix there Greenie. Lovely to see the orchids and butterflies. It certainly is looking like a bad year for butterflies again, very worrying. I haven't seen a Common Blue this year although admittedly, I've had few opportunities so far. Well done with the unusual view of the Brimstones.

I've been trying to identify your insect but with no luck so far. I actually wondered if I had seen it on your blog before but could be wrong.