Monday, 1 July 2013

Monday 1st. July 2013

A catch up post from the weekend , which started with another attempt to see the Glanville Fritillary at Hutchinsons Bank , but once again it was a no show for me . I did however get my first Ringlet of
the year , a very shy specimen that did not want to be photographed , but I did get a couple of record shots . Still good numbers of Small Blue about and 'Old Faithful' was on it's post , doing it's best to
look like a Frilled Lizard , as it is in the middle of shedding it's skin at the moment . A stop at Spring Park Pond , found great piles of vegetation around the edge of the pond , removed by the volunteers
recently , little wonder species have declined here . The better news was two Small Tortoiseshells ,
both recently emerged , feeding avidly on the Bramble flowers .
A couple of years ago , Keith and I travelled to a butterfly site near Peterborough , in the hope of seeing one of the most difficult to see species , and managed to see a single worn specimen as it was at the end of their flight period , but it was the first Black Hairstreak for both of us . We said that the time that we would return . The trip had been on/off due to weather and the closeness of the Silverstone GP , but a last minute decision saw me pick him up at 0600 , and head North , passing through low cloud halfway , but better conditions on arrival . We saw Black Hairstreaks within a few minutes of arrival , moving in their usual jerky flight , usually at about 15 ft. around the tops of Blackthorn bushes , occasionally coming lower , but not stopping . During that time other things also
caught our attention , like a Southern Marsh Orchid in one of the glades , and a Grass Snake warming
itself up on a fallen tree . Eventually a Black Hairstreak did stop , but high in the Blackthorn and
acting like a Small Heath ,  unhelpfully leaning it's wing to the sun . The species is similar to the White-letter Hairstreak that is found at High Elms amongst other sites , but has that row of black spots in the outer orange margin of the hindwing . Plenty more sighting , all high up , until a very
freshly emerged specimen was found at waist level , posing on a Dewberry patch , a close relation of Bramble , everything that we could have wished for , and more . Sightings diminished towards noon ,
so other interest took over , like a Horse-fly / Tabanus bromius , pictured on another enthusiast's boot , just after inflicting a nasty bite on both a lady enthusiast's legs . A Hobby could be heard arguing with a Red Kite above the canopy , but we didn't get a clear view of the confrontation . A couple of Tawny Owl calls were heard , and a second , large , probably female Grass Snake was found . It was balancing on a branch , lying in the grass , but because it was lying in an 'L' shape , I

was unable to the whole specimen in focus . So it's a Grass Snake of two halves . We were beginning to think of making our way home , to avoid any Silverstone traffic , when another low posing
specimen was found , and again , we filled our boots , absolutely unbelievable . With tired legs and filled boots , twice , we headed for the car , chuffed . Heading back to the main road , we spotted two Red Kites over a field , and pulled over to try for some shots , but they drifted off . Further down the
lane , a field was being 'topped' , and following the tractor were several Red Kites , all hoping for a
meal , disturbed by the topping . I haven't had time to go through all the many shots taken , so have
just dipped into the pack . This bird seemed to have found a meal amongst the grass , and was eating
it on the wing . I'm sure we could have stayed there all evening , but the traffic was always on our
minds . Leaving , there were at least 12 Red Kites over the field , and probably more , a fantastic sight . A message along the A14 mentioned delays further on , so we decided to use the A1 , and for once it worked out well , with even the Dartford Crossing made with virtually no wait . A great day out in good company , target species achieved and the Red Kites as a bonus , brilliant .
And finally , a few bits of interest found whilst helping a friend today , all taken with the old camera ,
several male Beautiful Demoiselles along a small stream ,
a male Toad along the bank of the stream ,
and a Lesser Stag Beetle / Dorcus parallelopipedus , in the same area .


Phil said...

I'm suitably impressed and suitably jealous too Greenie. Not much chance of seeing Black Hairstreaks here but I look forward to the (hopefully) inevitable arrival of Red Kites.
Great post and pics.

Marianne said...

Lovely photos. I suspect that might be the same site where I saw my one and only Black Hairstreaks back in 1995 - no Red Kites there then!

Marc Heath said...

Black Hairsreak, wow. One I would love to see. Well done you.

Mike H said...

Well done Greenie and glad that you managed to get shots of one that most of us have never seen. The Red Kites the icing on the cake. A great day out.!

Alan Pavey said...

What a great day Greenie some nice highlights, for me it would be the Black Hairstreak as it would be many others I'm sure :-)