Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Wednesday 7th. August 2013

Yesterday morning I did the bird survey at Down House , and finished up with a paltry 13 species , the only highlight being a pair of Bullfinches . As usual , I recorded butterflies as well and almost reached the bird total with 12 species being recorded . Highlights of that survey were definitely Small
Copper (13 , all but one , very small specimens) and the same number of Large Whites , split almost

equally between males with no spots on the topwings and females with conspicuous double spots on theirs , and being second generation , the markings of both are stronger than first generation specimens . But the most interesting find was a Holly Blue , which was flying around the Sandwalk ,
eventually settling on the wet path . From it's size , I would have thought that it was a female , being larger than the male , but after a while , it flew and settled on some vegetation and opened it's wings
and the dark markings were even less than would have been expected on a male . In the large meadow I found a Painted Lady , but she didn't pose for a photograph , but in the walled
vegetable garden , I found a Peacock , warming up on the bricks of the wall . On the way round , I
found 4 of the Violet Helleborines had been browsed , probably by deer , but this one still has
managed to produce flowers even though, but the others were browsed to below the flower bud height . On the way back home , I stopped off at Hutchinsons Bank , finding just two male Clouded Yellows charging up and down the Cutting , and Terry , who was a Ranger at High Elms , who had come to get some shots of them , which he did manage to do .
After sorting some business this morning , I set off after lunch to do the High Elms full butterfly transect , arriving in sunshine , but as often happens there , cloud rolled in and quietened things down somewhat . Having said that , I did record 17 species ( 4 more than the bird survey numbers ) on the transect , and some of those in unusually high numbers ;
Speckled Wood (5) , Small Skipper (15) , Comma (8) , White-letter Hairstreak (12 - pleasingly found
in three separate areas , Conservation Field , Orchid bank and bottom glade) , Silver-washed Fritillary (14 , including two egg laying females) , Large White (51 , I thought there were good numbers at Down House yesterday , but this number was incredible) , Small Heath (1) , Small Copper (2) ,
Common Blue (10) , Brimstone (3 , one pictured) , Peacock (49 , I can only think that there has been a large hatch since my last visit , and almost all of them nectaring on Hemp Agrimony) , Brown Argus (4) , Meadow Brown (294) , Gatekeeper (91) , Small White (41 , another incredible number) ,
Green-veined White (4) and last but not least a pristine , female from the length of the abdomen ,
Painted Lady , which unlike yesterday's specimen was quite happy to pose for a few shots . Having found several species of butterfly in good numbers , I was staggered today by the numbers of Silver Y that flew up out of the grass as I walked around the site , numbers that could quite easily have challenged Meadow Brown as most numerous . I wonder if there are any left on the Continent ?
And finally , I came across two specimens of Sitochroa palealis ( thanks again Mike ) , which I
posted a few posts ago , and one of them posed nicely to show the species better .

1 comment:

Warren Baker said...

I get more bird species in my tiny Garden than at Down house Greenie :-). Dont they do any habitat work there ?

Butterflies are looking very tatty here now, need a fresh hatching, as for Damsels, well they have all disappeared :-(