Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Wednesday 24th. July 2013

Yesterday morning , I tried again for Purple Hairstreaks on both West Wickham and Hayes Common , and once again I failed to find any . Whilst looking , I did find a few bits of interest ,
several large sheetwebs , each with a tubular retreat for it's occupant , the Labyrinth Spider / Agelena labyrinthica , this particular occupant having just dealt with a young Grasshopper that probably got blown into it's web ,
after finding the Long-winged female Conehead on a previous visit , this time it was a female Short-winged Conehead , again a female , this time with the short upturned ovipositor ,
lots of grasshoppers , especially on the heathland areas , including this Common Field Grasshopper ,
and , found in the garden late afternoon , this moth , which I hope is Buff Ermine .
Today , after waiting in for a delivery , I made another visit to Dene Park , near Warren's patch , to look for more Purple Emperors . The clouds were just breaking and the sun soon appeared , which made it very humid again . I had one quick sighting early on , then it went quiet , but from about midday to 1300 , I and four other watchers had dozens of sightings , albeit at 40-50 feet around the top of one of the master trees . The most butterflies in view at any one time was three , but there could well have been more . One specimen came tantalisingly close , but at the last second , swooped back to the tree tops . Also seen were a handful of PHs , likewise all high up , a single SWF , a couple of Commas and a few White Admirals . The sightings came to an abrupt end , so I left the site and headed for White Hill near Shoreham , the site managed specifically for Chalkhill Blues by Kent BC .
By the time I arrived , it was almost wall to wall sunshine , but with a strong wind across the slope . Chalkhill Blues were seen almost immediately , but not in the large numbers I have seen in previous years on site . Like several of the 'blue' butterflies , the female is brown , and several newly emerged

specimens were seen , along with males , some of which have already started to loose some of their coloured scales . Searching the length of the site , I found four mating pairs , but there were probably
more amongst the ground vegetation , this pair were on Marjoram / Origanum vulgare , a member of the Labiate family . The Field Scabious has now been joined by the Small Scabious , Scabiosa
columbaria , both members of the Teasel family . The last relative to flower , the Devilsbit Scabious / Succisa pratensis , is still in tight bud , but seems to have escaped the interest of rabbits this year .
Harebell / Campanula rotundifolia , a member of the Bellflower family ,
and Eyebright /Euphrasia officinalis , a member of the Figwort family , and a favourite of mine , was also found . As was this moth , which I should know , having found it before . I know it doesn't have
a common name , and have gone through the UK Moth searches without success . I know I'm going to kick myself when I see the name . Many thanks to Alan for identifying the moth as Oncocera semirubella , and yes , the kick has been administered .


Warren Baker said...

I only saw one PH today Greenie, normally this is a species I do well for, but this year they are few and far between.
I like the Chalkhill Blue mating shot, very nice :-)

Alan Pavey said...

Another nice selection of wildlife Greenie, the moth is called Oncocera Semirubella, really smart little moth :-)

roger.wood800 said...

I went to White Hill last Thursday (18/7) at which time I saw just two very fresh males, probably hatched just earlier in the day.
The blue scales can look a bit patchy, even when they're fresh but yes, it does seem a shame how quickly they - just like the SW Fritillaries and White Admirals - can start to fade.

Marianne said...

Wonder if some of the butterflies are down this year because of last year's nonexistent summer? Lovely to see the Chalkhill Blues, and I also think that's a Buff Ermine, very pretty moth.

Mike H said...

Glad that you saw a good number of PE today Greenie even if you didn't get a shot. Finally managed about half a dozen SWF at Hamstreet NNR today.

Phil said...

Another nice varied post Greenie. Well done with the Emperors and Chalkhills.
Tried to find PH at New Hythe yesterday but no luck.