Monday, 28 April 2014

Sunday 27th. April 2014

Another  damp , drab morning , but at least it gives a chance to catch up on processing pictures and catch up on a couple of recent visits .
For once , I managed to get to Burnt Gorse at High Elms LNR in warm conditions , with some sunny intervals . It took some time before I found my first butterfly species , but it was one that I have been looking for on previous visits , the Green Hairstreak . Two males were found , spending much of the
time in aerial combat , but , every now and again , resting in the sunshine , before the next scrap . Hairstreak is a bit of a misnomer for this species , as unlike the Purple , White-letter , Black and Brown members of the family , the streak is reduced to a row of white dots , sometimes none at all . Another anomaly is that it is the only family member not to have 'tails' on it's hindwings . The green metallic colour is unique amongst British butterflies , and is produced byeffects of light on the scales on the wing only allowing the green colour of the spectrum to reach the viewer's eye . I also managed
to record my first Dingy Skipper on site this year , this , one of four found was nectaring on Bugle . Whilst on Burnt Gorse , I also found a couple of insects that I didn't recognise , and spent a lot of time searching books and the web , without success . I would like to say I finally found them , but it was down to two enthusiasts on 'I-spot' who came up with the identifications . The first was a
strange looking red and black beetle on a Wayfarer leaf which turned out to be a Hazel Leaf-roller Weevil / Apoderus coryli , and the second that looked to me like a Long-horned Beetle , but the
antennae weren't long enough , and turned out to be a Click Beetle / Agrypnus murinus . Shortly after this shot , it flew a short distance with a surprise , and landed again . I got in position and waited for it
to do the same again , which it did , giving the same surprise . The last find on BG was 6 Fly Orchid /
Ophrys insectifera , clustered in a loose group , one of which was just coming into flower . On the Orchid Bank , after a fantastic season last year , the Common Twayblade / Listera ovate , seems to be
having a rest this year , with just a few of the specimens found , though not yet in flower . Neither were
either of the Man Orchid /Aceras anthropophorum found , one being perilously close to the edge of the path that runs through the middle . The walk back to the car produced a concealed Fox which
took no notice of me , seemingly with it's eye on something else , and some Town Hall Clock /
Moschatel , getting it's common name by having four flowers , each at right angles to the next one , and one on top for good luck . But being green and small , amongst a mat of green leaves , it's not the easiest of species to spot . Back in the garden , I missed the first Damselfly to emerge from the pond ,
a Large Red , identified by the dark and light bands on the legs of it's larval case or exuvia , left behind when it took it's maiden flight .
A bit of brightness yesterday afternoon had me heading for the Greensand Ridge , and in not the best
of conditions managed to find 7 Adders . One was the big female that mated with the large Black and white male , seemingly at ease with the world . The other female amongst the 7 was found lounging
with a male that looked very much like the one that was vanquished in the epic 36 minute combat .
When I looked in on them again later , it had escalated from lounging to the precursor of mating , but
this pair were a bit more dignified , moving well into cover before completing the business in hand . That makes four matings that I have witnessed this Spring up on the Ridge , so probabilities say there must have been at least double that , good news for the species .


Phil said...

Nice post Greenie. Like the two beetles and never tire of Adder shots. Hope to get out soon and try the new toy!!!

Warren Baker said...

Dingy Skipper here would make my year for Butterflies Greenie, and as you know, I'm always on the lookout for a Green hairstreak, only ever had one here!

Alan Pavey said...

Green Hairstreaks are great, nice pic too. Another great selection of goodies :-)

JRandSue said...

Every thing seems to be early this year,love your Header and green hairstreak.

Ken. said...

First of all great Adder header pic.
That is a lovely variety of wildlife photo's, and it is a shame you missed out on your damselfly leaving home.

Rodney Compton said...

The green hairstreak population at burnt gorse is building up nicely - at least four butterflies present around the dogwood and wayfarer trees

Rodney Compton said...

I can confirm the common blue that Keith saw on the 30th?. I thought it must have been a holly blue, it seemed so early, but on reflection its flight pattern was definitely that of a common blue. This is the earliest record I have seen for any area I cover and as an indication of how things have changed since 1976 - my first records for the seventies and eighties was 8/5/1976 at Ruxley, and we all know what sort of a summer that was (and how abundant the common blue was then). There was also a rather strange butterfly on the wing on burnt gorse that I think was a male emperor moth. I have bred these locally this year from eggs found at the Bromley Lido allotment (found last year by Howard Walmsley) and on putting out two females, there was an almost immediate response from two local male moths.