Sunday, 28 July 2013

Sunday 28th. July 2013

Fresher conditions this morning following overnight rain , but with a very blustery wind , but buoyed up by yesterday's PH finds , I returned to the Commons just after 0800 and spent the next hour and a bit , not seeing a single one , in fact , seeing very little apart from a female Roe Deer that bounded away from the heathland area and disappeared into the woodland without trace . Giving up , I thought that as WLH were out at Spring Park , they should be at High Elms , so that's where I headed . My plan was to head straight to the bottom glade , where the Canadian Golden-rod and Hemp Agrimony were both starting to flower , but the clouds rolled in as I arrived , so I made a detour into some of the
other glades , finding the first Broad-leaved Helleborine of the year in flower in one of them , but not a lot else . By the time I eventually reached the bottom glade , the clouds were beginning to break , but any insects on the wing were at a premium , especially given the strong wind . A Comma was one of the first butterflies to appear , and having lapped the glade several times at speed , settled in the
milky sunshine on a Dogwood leaf . My hopes were raised when from distance , I spotted a small
butterfly on the yellow CG-r , but when I got closer they were dashed by a very small Ringlet . After about an hour , the zig-zag flight of a Hairstreak was seen as it dived into the ground vegetation half way down the glade . When I got to the spot there was no sign , until a gust of wind blew a leaf and I spotted something hanging on the underside . As it attempted to climb onto the top of the leaf , I saw red markings and white streaks , but another gust of wind caught it before I could be sure . I managed to watch it cross the central path and then lost it from view . I carried on scanning the open flowers and a few minutes later saw something near the top of some CGr . Approaching carefully , I could see
that it was my target , a White-letter Hairstreak , at long last . I let it feed , and slowly got closer , firing off shots as I did so , but that wind was definitely not conducive to photography , and most
went straight into the bin , but the odd one or two turned out not too bad . Without the wind , the situation would have been perfect , with the subject at about shoulder height , but with the wind .
After less that 2 minutes and about 20 shots , another gust blew the top of the CGr till it almost reached the ground , and when it came back up , there was no sigh of the WLH , and that was the last I saw of it . I stayed in the glade some time and was joined for a while by a male SWF , but when he had checked out every corner and didn't find a female , he was off . On another stand of CGr , I did
find a Speckled Bush-cricket . With no sign of a return of the WLH , I was ready to move on , when a continuous 'kek-kek-kek' call had me looking into the distance and high above the tree line . I only had the 100mm. macro lens with me , but took a couple of shots of a large and small bird . It wasn't
till I got home and enlarged the pictures that I realised that it had been a Sparrowhawk trying to drive off a Red Kite . I made my way back to the Orchid Bank and on arrival found a group of four butterfly enthusiasts . I stopped for a chat and found that they were at HE for the SWF and WLH and they came from near Dene Park , where I had been earlier in the week for PEs . Whilst chatting , a
Common Buzzard passed over the far end of the Bank , calling as it did so . I directed the group to the bottom glade and we went our separate ways . Even though the sun had gone in , I still had to pass through the other glades on the way back to the car park , finding a female SWF egg laying in
one , and a nectaring female in another glade .
And finally , found in the garden this afternoon , the caterpillar of the Buff Tip Moth .


Alan Pavey said...

Glad you finally caught up with the WLH hopefully the PH's won't be too far behind, had my first one at Sissinghurst today briefly.

Warren Baker said...

Excellent WLH photo's Greenie, in that wind especially so!

You had not too bad a day, what with the Red Kite too :-)

Spock said...

Its good to see that buff tips are still in your road, i used to collect them in the 1970s from your roadside Lime trees