Saturday, 1 June 2013

Saturday 1st. June 2013

Now to finally catch up with myself .
With just a small window of reasonable weather on the cards , I decided to see if I could locate the Small Blue that Martin , who does the butterfly transect at Hutchinsons Bank , had found yesterday , the first sighting of the species on site this year . On the way , I stopped for a look at Spring Park Pond , a week on from my last visit . After a decent day yesterday , I was expecting better than the Odonata no show that followed . The weather can be blamed for some of the lack of sightings , but the yearly clear out of vegetation , which is due to go ahead again later this month has got to be blamed too . The biggest problems are Marestail / Hippuris vulgaris , which is choking the pond and silt , washed down from higher ground , even though a 'silt trap' is in place , the end where the supposed silt free water enters the pond is now higher than the water level , so effectively the pond is getting smaller and smaller , whilst getting more and more choked with vegetation , all adding up to less and less Odonata . After a couple of years of it's existence , about 15 species were recorded , now , if half are recorded it's better than average . What with the farm lake in new ownership and my free access gone and the downward spiral with this pond , I think I need to find 'pastures new' , or should that be 'lakes , ponds new' . A look through the vegetation close to the pond and around the small meadow , some distance away also failed to find any Odonata . A few bits of interest were found , a Green-veined White butterfly , wings open in cloudy conditions was obviously wrong , but
answered by the appearance of a white Crab Spider , prepared to keep possession of it's meal .Close by , a Red-headed Cardinal Beetle / Pyrochroa serraticornis , apparently more common than it's
Black-headed relation , was trying to warm up on another Bramble leaf . I read there is actually a third , much rarer relation the Scarce , but that is only found in Wales and Scotland . Keeping on the red track , two specimens of the Red and Black Leafhopper / Cercopis vulnerata were found , no
doubt their numbers will increase quickly , if last year was anything to go by . Looking over in the direction of Hutchinsons Bank , some brighter weather was coming in , so I made my way over there to take advantage of it . It worked well .arriving in warm , sunny conditions , but it was obvious that the butterflies didn't agree , as not a single one was on the wing . I walked up and down the scrapes and other areas of Kidney Vetch , the food plant for the species , several times and saw nothing . Eventually , two Small Heath were seen and a Common Lizard , sunbathing on a large leaf , at least
was something to look at . A real poser this one , and it wasn't until the lens hood was almost
touching it's nose that it moved further down into the vegetation . After much walking and cloud moving in , I did find the Small Blue that Martin had seen the day before , and after a few short
flights , it settled and I was able to get a few shots of this pristine male . This is the smallest British
butterfly , looking on the underside very similar to the Holly Blue , and is only found where Kidney Vetch on which the female lays her eggs and the caterpillars feed , grows . The only other species on
 the wing whilst I was there was a Burnet Companion , day flying moth . And finally , talking of moths , one I found in vegetation at Spring Park Pond . Quite small , the size of a Holly Blue , I
thought at first Small Purple-barred , but went off that very quickly when I started digging when I got home .


Spock said...

The moth could be a micro, i dont have any books on those

Warren Baker said...

Shame about that pond Greenie, another case of landowners not looking after the land :-( I get that all the time here.

Smart Small Blue photo, and excellent Lizard !

ShySongbird said...

A great shame about the upkeep of the pond Greenie. Sadly, that is largely the case around here too. Well done on the Small Blue, lovely photos of it and also of the beautiful lizard.

I also enjoyed your Friday visits. You certainly made the most of Carol's day out ;-) Good to see the Cuckoo and lovely photos of the Hobby.