Friday, 11 April 2014

Friday 11th. April 2014

A catch up on the week starts with the first full butterfly transect at High Elms LNR . Being elevated and cooler than the surrounding area , always a slow starter , but I was pleased to record 2 Small Tortoiseshell , 9 Brimstone ( all males ) , 11 Peacock  , 1 Orange Tip ( female ) and one Comma . The
main butterfly areas were very quiet and most were found in warmer , small glades containing
flowering Bluebells . As I walked the butterfly-less  Conservation Field , 4 Common Buzzard were
calling and interacting overhead and alongside the golf course , a very confiding Chiffchaff allowed a
few shots , not like the male Blackcap in the same tree . Back home in the garden , Brimstone ,
Speckled Wood and both male and female Orange Tip were recorded .
An afternoon look up on the Common found several Cowslips / Primula veris on the open glades , no
doubt the seeds brought in on the grass cutters which mowed them at the end of last year . Lots of Brimstone were seen , including at least 4 egg laying females . I spent quite some time chasing them
around , and was rewarded with a shot of one of them actually laying one of her eggs . If you look closely , the egg is just emerging from her abdomen and about to be stuck to the Buckthorn plant .
And here's what it's all about , the lozenge shaped egg that will continue the species . Also found ,
another Green Tiger Beetle / Cicindela campestris , a more colourful specimen this time .
This morning I had a run down to Old Lodge Reserve on Ashdown Forest . A chilly start with a keen breeze , opened into blue skies before closing back up again . Lots of Chaffinches as usual and good numbers of Willow Warblers singing as I walked the top path . At least 3 pairs of Stonechat were


on the way around , along with a Green Woodpecker that flew up from the ground , and for once ,
didn't hop around the far side of the trunk . Sight and sound of the visit was on the high ground bordering the MoD land , where up to 6 Woodlark were singing / displaying , and every now and
again , acting like Black Grouse on a lek  , but still carried on singing . After a scrap , they would
carry on feeding and singing till the next one . At one point , three took to the air together and with a
couple more singing on the ground , made for a few minutes that I won't forget for a long time . I heard the 'cronk' of a Raven a couple of times but never saw it , then on a third occasion , I followed it with the camera as it flew behind trees and as it passed a small gap I managed just three shots , the
first was out of focus , the second reasonable and the third it had gone behind trees again . I had three glimpses of Common Redstarts , all in the valley of the little stream , but never managed a shot . By the time I got back to the top path , that blue sky was gone , but another distant 'cronk' alerted me to
another Raven who was sorting out what looked like a Common Buzzard , but it was too far off to be certain .
On my way home , I stopped off to see if the Early Purple Orchids were out on a verge . I could only

two plants on the verge , but there were more in the small woodland behind .


Warren Baker said...

I wonder why the Bluebells here dont attract Butterflies ?

Some good bird species seen this week Greenie, more to come yet :-)

Phil said...

Old Lodge has been at the back of my mind for a while Greenie. Your excellent post has bought it to the front. I will have to go asap!