Sunday, 14 July 2013

Sunday 14th. July 2013

Yesterday morning , I got out early in the hope of avoiding the hottest of the day , and also to find the first Purple Hairstreak of the year . I stopped first at West Wickham Common , and searched Bramble and Bracken below Oak trees , a favoured warming up spot for the species early morning . The Oak trees that were already in the sun were also searched , by none wee found . A consolation was a very
fresh Small Tortoiseshell , looking very colourful in the early sunlight , and a surprise couple of
Marbled Whites , both females , given that they were on the edge of the heath restoration area , which is mainly covered with Heather , with just a small amount of rough grassland on the edges . Large
Skipper , Green-veined White , Meadow Brown , Ringlet and a single Comma , pictured , were also recorded . I then moved on to the Ash tree in the glade on Hayes Common , and took up position looking into the topmost branches , where male PHs battle for the best positions , but once again , all was quiet . Small Skipper , Large White and Small Heath were added to the records , along with another female Marbled White , this time in the more normal surroundings of an open woodland
glade , identified as such by the brown markings on the underside of the hindwing . A couple of other
bits of interest found included this strange looking fly , the identity of which I am still working on , Very many thanks to ShySongbird for saving me ages trawling through pictures of flies , by identifying this one as Sicus ferrugineus , one of the Thick-headed Flies . Really appreciated as I am still processing photos taken two weeks ago .
and Lucerne / Medicago sativa , a member of the Pea family , which is widely grown as Alfalfa , a feed for cattle .
This morning , with just a week till the Kent BC visit , I headed off to High Elms , to do the full butterfly transect and hopefully the species that they will be hoping to see . I must say that the recent warm , sunny spell has made a great improvement in numbers recorded , especially to Small Skippers and Marbled Whites . The full list recorded was :
Small Skipper (75) , Large Skipper (2) , Large White (5) , Common Blue (1-a very worn female) ,
White Admiral (1-pictured at distance , just before it flew off) , Small Tortoiseshell (1) , Peacock (1-another very faded specimen) , Comma (1) , Silver-washed Fritillary (3-all fast fly-bys) , Speckled Wood (10) , Marbled White ( a fantastic 73 , including 3 mating pairs , 69 of which found in one

small area . The top two shots show the black marking on the underside of the male's hindwing , and the last shot shows the golden leading edge on the female's forewing) , Meadow Brown (223-
including a mating pair , pictured), and Ringlet (221) . A few bits of interest found on the way round included ,
good amounts of Lady's Bedstraw / Galium verum , making a nice change from the usual white ,
the pretty Musk mallow / Malva moschata ,
and finally , a distant bad shot of a Hornet searching a Bramble for breakfast . I have seen several recently , but this was the only one I managed to get in the viewfinder .
With the warm weather due to continue , hopefully more SWFs and WAs will emerge , and perhaps even the White-letter Hairstreaks will show up by next Sunday .


Warren Baker said...

Been Looking for PH's all week Here Greenie, none seen as yet at their favoured places.

ShySongbird said...

That was a good count of Marbled Whites Greenie. Great shots too. They also seemed to do pretty well here last year despite the weather. I think your fly is sicus ferrugineus.

Ken. said...

Good numbers of Marbled Whites.
You did well with the other species also.
Pity you didn't get to see the Purple Hairstreaks, next time.
Nice picture of the finger, the butterfly isn't bad either :-)