Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Wednesday 26th. June 2013

Even though the sun wasn't out this morning , it was humid , so I set off to do the full butterfly transect at High Elms LNR , which was well overdue . I feared the worst again as after doing the Conservation Field side of the road , just 7 butterflies had been recorded . Burnt Gorse helped improve things , but just 8 species were recorded in all . The full list was , Common Blue (24) , Small
Heath (1) , Large White (2-1 pictured) , Large Skipper (1) , Meadow Brown (9-1 pictured) , Red
Admiral (1) , Dingy Skipper (1) and Speckled Wood (3) . The Large Skipper and Meadow Browns were the first on site this year . Other interest was a Roe Deer in the long grass on Burnt Gorse and a male Emperor Dragonfly , hawking in the Golf Club car park . On the way round , 10 Bee Orchids
were recorded , including an unusual 'twin flower' specimen , usually the flowers are singles up the stem . Many of the Pyramidal Orchids that were in bud last visit , are almost in full flower , showing
how they got their name . Also at their best are the White Helleborine , some reaching 50-60 cms. in
height , and certainly brightening up the woodland floor . The Birdsnest Orchids are reaching their
'sell by date' , and will soon be just seed heads .5 more Man Orchids were found , bringing their total to 13 on site . Also on the way round , found the first specimens of the year of one of my favourite
plants , Grass Vetchling / Lathyrus nissolia , a member of the Pea family .
After lunch , and with the sun having disappeared , I set off for Hutchinson's Bank , still hoping for a glimpse of Martin's Clouded Yellow or Glanville Fritillary , and that the sun might return . The sentry
was on duty as usual and seems to have got rid of the hitch-hikers . Down in The Cutting a male
Common Blue wasn't giving up hope of the sun re-appearing . Several female Small Blues were looking to egg lay , and I managed to photograph the laying and the egg again . Elsewhere , three was
a crowd , no matter how small , but eventually the joined pair managed to get rid of the interloper ,
allowing them to get back to their business . Whilst photographing the pair , I spotted a movement up a grass stem which turned out to be the jumping spider / Heliophanus cupreus again , and this time I
actually saw it jump in an attempt to catch a small fly . This was the moment it launched itself , but it wasn't successful this time . I was just about to pack up and head home , and was being bitten to
death by Red Ants , when I spotted this dark area in the long grass . I put my finger under those legs ,
and this wonderful creature was quite happy to get warmth from my fingers . It is a Privet Hawkmoth
, probably a female from the size of the abdomen . While I was photographing her , Malcolm , one of the volunteers on the site came by and was able to get a good view . He asked my name , then said that he had just been talking to a chap in The Cutting , who had mentioned my name , and that his name was Keith from High Elms . I knew Keith would be interested and asked Malcolm to let
him know where I was , which he did . When Keith arrived , I put the moth on the shady side of a fence post and Keith filled his boots . When he was finished , I returned the moth to where I had found it , and Keith got stuck into photographing the mating Small Blue pair . I left him to it , as I was already late . The strangest thing of all is that I had made arrangements with the parents of the other Keith I know , to visit their house to photograph , a Privet Hawkmoth that they had in their garden , but it flew overnight .

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