Thursday, 29 August 2013

Thursday 29th. August 2013

A catch up on new interest found over the past week . On Sunday last , a visit to Hutchinsons Bank found two Clouded Yellows still patrolling the Cutting , but also a larvae of the Elephant Hawk
Moth , feeding on it's foodplant , Rosebay Willow Herb . Not the easiest of things to photograph on
the plant , so I temporarily moved it onto the bench to get a better view . As can be seen in the pictures , the 'Elephant' part of the moth's name comes from the larvae , with it's trunk-like front end , not the moth itself , which is pinkish in colour , and far from elephant-like .
On Tuesday , Martin and myself went off in search of the last butterfly of the season ,the Brown Hairstreak , which we failed to photograph at Bookham Common recently . Deepest Sussex , the Rifle Range at Steyning , our best chance of seeing this species . Things looked good early on , with specimens seen high in the Ash and Field Maple trees behind the Blackthorn / Bullace 'mini forest' in front , exactly what the females wanted for egg laying . But for some reason , the females did not
come down to do their duty , even Neil Hulme couldn't encourage them down low . I did get a couple
of record shots from about 5 mtrs. , but they don't really do justice to the species . We did also find
Adonis Blue and Clouded Yellow further up the hill , along with several Wall , under and topwing
pictured , including two females that were egg laying deep in grass tussocks , well out of view . I see from reports that the females 'played ball' yesterday , and everyone got the shots they wanted , that's life . A quick visit before lunch yesterday surprisingly found another EHM larvae on the same stand
of Rosebay Willowherb as the first one . This one showed up better as it was resting when found , and it's 'head pulled in' and scare off anyone looking pose . This one was half as big again as the first
one , quite a handful . Once again two CYs were found in the Cutting . After lunch , I spent a leisurely hour or so up on the Common , mainly spent re-checking the marked Buckthorn shrubs . I was just about to give up , when lo and behold , I found my first ever Brimstone pupa case , albeit the
butterfly had already emerged . I have spent hours looking for one of these and at last I found one . Also found on the heathland area was a new hoverfly for me , Sphaerophoria bavata , one of the
smaller , very active specimens . Today , a spur of the moment decision saw me heading for Leysdown on the Isle of Sheppey , in search of a Wryneck that has been seen over the last couple of days , a species I have never seen . When I arrived at the bush that it had been favouring , a Magpie was sat on the top and no sign of the Wryneck . I met up with a couple from Dartford who had arrived at first light , and they didn't find it either . A look at Capel Fleet and the Raptor viewpoint , produced little , not surprising with all the farm work going on , and the track to the car park and back at Elmley only produced 1 Wheatear and 6 Yellow Wagtails , with just one Marsh Harrier high over . Not a single Lapwing or Redshank seen . I did get some consolation on the way home when I called
in at Sevenoaks Reserve , and after a short wait was treated to Marianne's Kingfisher outside Willow Hide .


Warren Baker said...

Lots of Willow Herb here Greenie - I need to check it out!

I was contemplating a trip to get that Kingfisher photo today, looks like i should have gone ! :-)

Marianne said...

I love the Elephant Hawkmoth caterpillars, though have to say they are not quite as gorgeous as the adult moths... Good work finding the hairstreaks, and I'm glad the Kingfisher showed for you :)

Alan Pavey said...

Brown Hairstreak another flutter I've yet to see, looks very smart from your pics Greenie.