Saturday, 24 August 2013

Saturday 24th. August 2013

After over 5 years , and according to Blogger this my 1000th. post , actually it should be 1043 posts , I have decided to retire from "full time blogging" , and in the future will post when "new" interest is found , rather than recycling findings for a sixth year . But , in the meantime , a catch up on the last couple of rather quiet days .
On Thursday I decided on a visit to Old Lodge Reserve on Ashdown Forest , which was my first mistake of the day , as I can only compare the visit to one to the morgue in a hospital . It was so quiet in both song and visible interest , it was unbelievable . The only migrants found were 3 juvenile Common Redstart , that always kept a good distance in front of me as made my way up the gully from the bottom of the reserve . Keeping their distance in front too were 2 juvenile Green
Woodpeckers , but at least I managed to get one of them in the viewfinder , just . Another juvenile
Woodpecker , Great Spotted this time , was the only other shot I managed during a two hour visit . Even the Odonata that I had hoped to find , Black Darter and Small Red Eyed Damselfly failed to show , finding just two Common Darters and a single Common Blue Damselfly . Arriving back at the car , I made my second mistake , by deciding to visit Weir Wood Reservoir , in the hope of catching one of those migrating Ospreys on their way South . Unfortunately none turned up , so had to settle for the local Great-crested Grebes and Canada and Greylag Geese , with some of the former still with very young offspring . With the sun still out , I decided to stop off at Bough Beech Reservoir on my way back home . Still a surprising amount of water considering the time of year , and plenty of muddy margins on the North Lake , but unfortunately very few birds . That mud had
attracted 7 Green Sandpiper , 4 of which I managed to get in the viewfinder , a single Common Sandpiper and a few Lapwing , which were spooked by a low flying small aircraft , taking the Com. Sandpiper with them just after my arrival . Further out in the North Lake towards the island , a female
Shellduck was feeding along with her 3 , almost fully grown offspring , pictured .
I had hoped to post shots of the final butterfly to emerge for the year , the Brown Hairstreak , on this post , and have been watching Sussex sites , but very few have been seen , but Martin from Hutchinsons Bank had been on a Surrey Butterfly Conservation visit to Bookham Common , where they had found a fresh specimen , see Martin's shots , link on my side bar , 'Martin's Butterflies' . After two and a half hours slogging around a vast area of Blackthorn on the site in very humid conditions , Martin had a fleeting glimpse of one as it zipped over a Blackthorn bush , but that
was all . The only shots that I took on the visit were , a 'very mature' male Broad-bodied Chaser , and a fresh specimen of the bracket fungus Laetiporus sulphurus / Sulphur Polypore or Chicken of the
Woods . Other interest found were a female Roe Deer and a Weasel that flashed across the track in front of us with prey in in it's mouth and two Clouded Yellows . We moved on to Denbies Hillside above Dorking , with the wind getting up and the promised cloud on the Western horizon . Along the
top path , the first male Adonis Blues were found with a vibrant blue more vivid than their Common relation , and also sporting the broken white border which is not so on the Common Blue . The Chalkhill Blue population was well down on previous visits , but many mating pairs were still found . Another Clouded Yellow was found on the top path , and another 4 in a field further along the track
at the bottom , making it 7 on the day . Down on the grassland , a moth flew by me and once settled ,
was able to identify it as Clouded Buff , a species that I have found it here in previous years . We also started to find good numbers of Silver-spotted Skippers , including several courting couples , where
the male stayed very close to the female including during flight . But , it did make these fast flying butterflies a bit easier to follow in flight , and before long the inevitable happened when they
coupled . I offered this pair my finger , which they readily accepted , but getting them to get off after getting some shots was a different matter , as they seemed quite happy doing what comes naturally exactly where they were . As we headed back to the car , the sun was all but gone and most butterflies had gone to roost . Heading home and hoping to join the M25 at Reigate , plans were thrown into disarray when we found the onslip being shut off due to a caravan on fire between Jct.8 and 7 , and gridlock in the surrounding area . Fortunately , Martin knew an alternative route along back lanes , and once we got away from the immediate jam , we made good time back . I knew Martin bred tropical butterflies in his back garden , and when he asked if I would like to see them , I jumped at the opportunity . A most enjoyable half hour followed in his butterfly house / greenhouse , and he has allowed me to post a few shots of what was on show . He did mention Latin names , but there was no way I could remember them , I can't remember my own sometimes .
Naturally enough , 'Tiger' was somewhere in this ones name ,
this was a male 'Zebra' ,
and this the female of the same species , with a hint of orange in her white stripes ,
the first of two consecutive shots of a female Zebra , egglaying almost under my nose ,
and the second , a split second later , as she flew off having layed her egg ,
and finally , a species with 'Postman' in it's name .
That's me up to date , will post again when I find some new interest .


Alan Pavey said...

I can't believe how it quiet it was on your travels looking for birds Greenie, mind you it has been quiet here I suppose! Nice Skipper though.

Warren Baker said...

Dont leave us completely Greenie, Ive a lot to learn from you yet!!

Quiet in most places last week though.

Spock said...

The Tropical Butterflies are for note

Orange Tiger - Dryadula phaetusa
Zebra - Heliconius charitonius
Cydno - Heliconius cydno

anthough the last one could be a hybrid with the postman, Heliconius melpomene.

The pupa that were seen, are going to hatch Sunday.

Mike H said...

Another good read Greenie, will be sorry to read less of the blog in future but after 5 years would understand if the reads slowed down. Will continue to send you the odd bug for ID if I may ?.Every chance that I may bump into you on your travels.

Ken. said...

I enjoy reading your blog and your pics, and I understand why you are only going to post when anything of interest shows,
but I don't think we will have to wait too long.
Nice pic, love the photo's of Caribbean butterflies.

roger.wood800 said...

Congratulations on your 1,000th post!!!
Nature is great inasmuch as it always manages to keep coming up with surprises. (I had one only this weekend, when I came across the first 'Argiope'* species spider I've ever seen in England, on Romney Marsh. That was as much a surprise to me as it probably was to you to find them in Kent!)
*the sort with yellow and black striped bodies

Rodney Compton said...

I think some of the above comments echo my own thoughts about you easing off with the reports - absolutely outstanding observational work and pictures - thanks for the enjoyment and information.

Rodney Compton said...

Incidentally, we had a chalk hill blue here at Elmfield, Bromley Common last year - has anyone any thoughts on where the High Elms or Bromley Common butterflies originate?