Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Tuesday 18th June 2013

Went on an Orchid and Butterfly walk at Hutchinson's Bank today , along with Martin who does the regular butterfly transect , and several other enthusiasts . A promising start weather-wise , with sun warmth through cloud , but eventually the clouds won . Having said that , 14 species of butterfly were recorded , with plenty of Small Blues , Small Heaths and Whites , and several singletons , but they did include a pristine Painted Lady that touched down in front of us and then lifted off again , not to be seen again . The other highlight was the first Large Skipper of the year for all present , which has
been expected for the last 2/3 weeks . This pristine insect was a male , identified by the sex brands ,
the dark lines on it's upper wings , which is absent from females . I got on site early for a look around , and found the Common Lizard warming up again on the marker post , but it appears to have
picked up a couple of hitch-hikers since Sunday , of the blood draining sort . Amazing that they could penetrate the Lizard's overlapping plates . The site , managed by The London Wildlife Trust is one of
only 5 in the UK for Greater Rattle / Rhinanthus angustifolius , which is now in flower , and have
read the flower described as looking like ' a Canary clambering out of an eggshell , with it's mouth agape ' . The Orchid part of the walk took us across the lane to Chapel bank , on the way finding
Yellow Pimpernel / Lysimachia nemorum , a member of the Primrose family , alongside the woodland track . Plenty of Common Spotted and a few Pyramidal , those still in bud , were found along with many Common Twayblade , but the star of the show were the half dozen or so Greater
Butterfly Orchids , all in one small area . They are identified as Greater by the two pollinia , seen
either side of the throat of the flower being wide apart and not parallel . The pollinia are parallel and close together and obscure the throat of the flower on the rarer Lesser Butterfly Orchid . Whilst the main group had lunch , Martin and I went on to a large meadow to look for Man Orchids , which we
found in reasonable numbers , along with lots more Common Spotted Orchids . On the way back , a few Broad-leaved Helleborines , yet to flower were also found . On a dead log which we had to step over making our way back , was this fungi , once rare , then along came Dutch Elm Disease , and the
fungi is now listed as frequent , Rhodotus palmatus , on Elm of course . I finish again with a cry for help . I found this small thing in one of the sunny periods , sunning itself on a Black Bryony leaf .
A closer inspection found eight legs and yellow palps . So a spider of some sort , but not one I have
come across before . Any ideas ? Many thanks to Keith , who I last saw at High Elms a couple of weeks ago , for identifying the spider as Heliophanus cupreus , a member of the Salticidae family , Jumping Spiders . Reading up , this appears to be a female , the male not showing those yellow palps . Strangest thing found re. the species was a photo of one , taken at High Elms LNR .
A really enjoyable walk that , like many other times this so called Summer , just needed a bit more sunshine , and that would have encouraged many more butterflies onto the wing .


Phil said...

Some sunshine is indeed needed Greenie. Not sure if or when we'll get it though.
Can't help with your spider i'm afraid. Maybe it's a new species!

Warren Baker said...

Wonderful place to to spend a day greeie, if only the general countryside was kept in such a good state.

That Greater rattle is brilliant - canary out of an egg it is!!