Saturday, 19 April 2014

Saturday 19th. April 2014

A morning visit to Hutchinson's Bank , meeting up with Martin in the Cutting , who does the butterfly transect for the site , confirmed that with luck , Glanville Fritillary will be on the wing again this year . We searched for the caterpillars of the species , which Martin photographed and posted on his blog a few days ago , but failed initially , and assumed that they had moved off to pupate in the surrounding vegetation . A final look , before leaving Martin to start his transect , which included year firsts for Green Hairstreak , and Dingy and Grizzled Skipper , and a single fully grown
caterpillar was found , thanks to Martin's sharp eyesight . So now it's down to a three week wait till the adults hopefully emerge . After lunch , I headed off to High Elms LNR to do the full butterfly transect , in almost ideal conditions . Two and a half hours later , just five species had been recorded , 4 Orange Tip , 9 Brimstone , 12 Peacock . 3 Small White and a single Comma . I didn't hear of Martin's finds till later , but they were the three species that I had hoped to find , bit didn't . The only
shot I took on the way around was this of the high rise bank buildings of Canary Wharf , across the golf course , in the haze , through a gap in the trees on the horizon . On the way back home , I stopped to see if there was any sign of House Martins around their favoured farmhouse , which there
wasn't , but on one of the outbuildings , a Pied Wagtail posed on the ridge against clear blue sky , but
everything scattered on alarm calls , when this male Sparrowhawk appeared on the scene , but he left 'empty taloned' . On the bottom lane I found two Swallows , and with the sun in a better position , got
a shot of one of them , before they both flew off .
A morning visit to the feeders in the woods , found them empty , no doubt the supply stopped for the
Summer , but a few birds were still turning up , like this Marsh Tit , but having to find their own food for the time being . Whilst standing at the feeders , rustles could be heard and the odd movement amongst the fallen leaves . I managed to find some odd seed in one of the feeders , and put it down
under one of the feeders . I didn't have to wait long until the cause of the rustling , and spent a very
enjoyable time photographing at least three Bank Voles that were coming for the seed , whilst I stood just 3/4 metres away , with no cover between us . Tearing myself away , I did find a very photogenic
Grass Snake under a corrugated sheet , that allowed four shots before disappearing down one of the holes , tunnelled by the Bank Voles , under the sheet .
Yesterday , with fellow enthusiast Keith for company , a return visit to Old Lodge Reserve on Ashdown Forest was made , with a report of a sunny day from the forecasters . It might have been sunny , at times , but a very chilly wind kept the temperature well down , and the birds tucked up as well . We did hear some good species , but sightings were few and far between . Common Redstart ,
Wood Lark , Tree Pipit ( one pictured ) , Cuckoo , Common Buzzard , Lesser Redpoll , Common Crossbill , Goldcrest , Siskin , Swallow , Willow Warbler , Common Whitethroat and Stonechat all put in appearances , or were heard , along with the expected species , but I must admit that in the
conditions , it was hard work . Other interest included busy Wood Ant nests , with unknown numbers swarming all over , all very industrious . It was little surprise that after walking away from this nest ,
it felt as if they were climbing my legs , under my trousers . We returned home via Bough Beech Reservoir , and although quiet , managed to add House Martin and Common Tern to the list from the causeway .
And for those who have been worrying about the rugby players and the Great White Shark , no need , as the two pitches are still flooded and un-playable , unless of course you are a Grey Heron like this
one , who has taken up residence . The rest of his team consists of 8 Mallard , 4 Coot , 49 yellow plastic ducks , 1 Pied Wagtail and a traffic cone . The GWS fin has gone , to be replaced by -
HMS Coney .
Nearly forgot , some help please , with a caterpillar and a moth , both found at Old Lodge yesterday .
About 3/4 cms. in length .

About 1.5-2 cm. wingspan .


Spock said...

The caterpillar looks like a Clouded Buff in the Arctiidae group along with the Tigers and Ermines.

Marc Heath said...

Looks like I may be camping outside your house soon and following you!!

Spock said...

Tony says the following for the moth

From a reliable source. ..

Musitoma nitidalis, a recent introduction from Australasia on imported ferns and now established in places along the south coast.

Spock said...

The Glanville Caterpillar was still in the same area along the cutting today, but has grown a bit since Wednesday.