Thursday, 27 June 2013

Thursday 27th. June 2013

It was early doors this morning , alarm 0345 , on the road 0430 , to help with the bird survey on a farm near Bewl Water Reservoir , starting at 0530 . Thankfully the weather was better than the first visit in April , but the sightings were not much better , and we didn't get the Red Kite and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker this time . Lots of Tit families in the hedgerows and a recently fledged Wren family , and a Common Buzzard soaring overhead were the highlights . Roger is going to let me know the full results and if I remember , I'll post them at that time . Just a couple of shots taken on
the way round , I thought I hadn't seen this hoverfly before , and digging when I got home , think it is Xanthogramma pedissequum . I have had a close relation X.citrofasciatum before , but not this one . I missed the Grass Snake that was sunning itself on the edge of a pond , but did get an immature
White-legged Damselfly . We were finished the survey by 1000 , and as I was almost passing it on the way home , I decided to stop off at Lullingstone Country Park , where the other Keith from High Elms had photographed the first Dark Green Fritillaries of the year at the weekend . Only trouble with that plan was that the nearer I got to Lullingstone the cloudier it got . I made my way quickly to the Orchid Bank , situated in the middle of the golf course , and on arrival , spotted two DGFs on the bottom of the slope . As I spotted them , the sun went in , and they disappeared . I started my search of the slope , but after two circuits , there was no other sightings and the sun was still missing too . I
did find the two Lizard Orchids / Himantoglossum hircinum , more than last year I believe , but well down on previous years . Described as an untidy-looking flower spike , I suppose it is , but when you
look closely at the 'lizards' , there is nothing untidy about them , and they do look like lizards . The sun came and went , with the usual result of butterflies on the wing , then not , but still no DGFs. I
did find a male Large Skipper , nectaring on one of the Greater Knapweed flowers , which is a favourite of the DGF too . Later on , I found a female , giving the chance to compare the two . The
dark sex brand on the upper wing of the male is missing , and the abdomen is shorter and wider than that of the male . Also on the wing were 20/25 Common Blue , 3 Small Heath , a single male Brown Argus and a single Meadow Brown . Other orchids found included two Bee , several Fragrant and
lots of Pyramidal , including an unusual pale specimen . Of course the more normal colour of the
orchid is pink , and it just so happened that I photographed the first DGF on such a flower . Once I got sight of the DGF , I kept it like that and managed to get a good number of shots on another of  it's
favourite flowers Field Scabious . With the cloud came the wind which is not unusual for the site , but try as I may , I couldn't get a decent underwing shot whilst it was nectaring . The best I could
manage was when it was sheltering in ground vegetation , waiting for the sun to re-appear . By 1300 , the cloud cover was almost total and the temperature had dropped , and had only seen definite 2 possibly 3 specimens , worrying as it is about 5 days since Keith had his sightings , and once emergence starts , it usually continues at a rate . I will get another opportunity to get back again , so I
headed back to the car park , on the way getting a male Banded Demoiselle , also sheltering , and in
the same area , the flower of Deadly Nightshade / Atropa bella-donna . Before heading home , I searched a pull-in on a busy road and found 23 specimens of Green-flowered Helleborine / Epipactis
phyllanthes , a member of the Orchid family , in their early stages . Like many things , that number is well down from the 70+ specimens that used to be found there .


Warren Baker said...

Like that DGF on the Scabious Greenie - very nice :-)

Marc Heath said...

Very jealous Greenie with the DGF shots, been a few years since I saw them in Kent.

Phil said...

Never seen DGF although I know the area where the site is quite well.
Have spent a lot of time on and around Bewl Water over the years but always been surprised by the relative lack of wildlife there. Mind you it seems to be quite under watched so maybe there's more to be seen than meets the eye.

Mike H said...

Another great account of your days out Greenie, I feel a visit to Lullingstone coming on next week. Hopefully a sunny day with low wind !!

ShySongbird said...

What a rewarding week you have had Greenie! Lots of great photos too. Well done on all the successful finds of the various orchids. Your memories of the locations from years before served you well.

Well done too with the butterfly finds. I'm glad you found the Small PBF and the DGF. The Wall Brown was a great find too. I was reading an article about its sad decline and it was worrying to see, on a series of maps, just how badly it has declined since 1980, the reason seems to be something of a mystery and not particularly linked to habitat loss.

I also enjoyed seeing the Privet Hawk Moth. Incredible coincidene you had planned to photograph one which turned out to have flown.