Friday, 2 May 2014

Friday 2nd. May 2014

A change in weather conditions meant that the third full butterfly transect at High Elms LNR , done in a brief period of broken sunshine and a cool breeze , only found four new species with Green Hairstreak (6) , Dingy Skipper (4) , Speckled Wood (1) and Green-veined White (10) making their first transect appearances this year . A couple of days later , fellow enthusiast Keith found a Common Blue on Burnt Gorse , which is the first I have seen recorded on the web .
The following morning I assisted another enthusiast , who has a Great Crested Newt license , with an amphibian survey on two ponds , which proved to be very productive , with the following species
being found . Great Crested Newt 18 , 11 netted and 7 found around the edges of the ponds ( male pictured ) , Smooth Newt 27 , 24 netted and 3 found around the edges , Frog 1 and Common Toad 3
( one pictured ) . Surprisingly , no Palmate Newts were found this time after finding good numbers on the last survey . Before returning all the GCNs to the water , I got a shot of the same male through the
side of a holding container , showing the full glory of the crest , which collapses over the back when out of water . The water is that colour in the pond , and they seem to thrive in it .
A visit to the bird feeders in the woods proved very quiet , with no birds coming to the feeders and no sign of Bank Voles either . A large Grass Snake that evaded the camera was found under refugia and
on a log pile , purposely drilled to attract insects , A wasp , which is either Ancistrocerus gazelle / Tube Wasp or A. Aparietum / Potter Wasp . From what I read it is almost impossible to tell the two
species apart just by looking at them . Lots of Yellow Pimpernel / Lysimachia nemorum was found along the open tracks , but the best find was as I was making my way back to the car , when this Roe
buck wandered into view , browsing on fresh vegetation . With no cover around me , I just froze , taking single shots , before the inevitable happened , he saw me , and I saw his rear end .
A visit to Hutchinson's Bank , hoping for an early Fritillary wasn't successful , but I did find my first two Small Coppers of the season , both of them showed signs of the aberration caeruleopunctata ,
where blue spots are found along the orange bands on the hindwings . Orange Tip numbers seem to
be well down following last year's wet , cold Spring , let's hope those that did make it can start a recovery .
A visit to Spring Park Pond , where the spring feeding the pond has finally stopped running , also meaning that the flooding on the nearby rugby pitches is finally receding , produced the first
Damselfly on site , a male Large Red . The continual spring water entering the pond having probably kept the water temperature down , and consequently affected their emergence . Looking around the woodland edge vegetation for any Broad-bodied Chasers , who use the Brambles to dry off and
sunbathe , failed to find any , but a queen Common Wasp /Vespule vulgaris , was doing just that . A flash of red flying by , when landed , proved to be a Red-headed Cardinal Beetle /Pyrochroa
serraticornis , apparently more common than it's Black-headed relative , P.coccinea , from what I read . A visit up on the Common was disappointing , as no further work has been done on a GSWoodpecker nesthole that I have been keeping an eye on . My hopes of some pictures of young being fed has had to be put on hold , hoping that it might return and finish the job .Female Brimstones are still egg laying on the Buckthorn and right on the edge , I found 3 male Green Hairstreaks , battling over possession of the tallest Gorse plants . For once it was nice to get a few
shots of Green on yellow , rather than Green on green . Only other interest found was a Slime
Mould / Fuligo septica , one of the 'higher classes' of fungi I read , on a stack of decaying logs , and a
few male Common Heath moths have emerged , this one resting , before franticly searching for a mate .


Phil said...

Good to see GC Newts Greenie. Haven't seen one since I was a youngster.
Still not finding Green Hairstreak or Grizzled Skipper. Hoping to give it another go this morning.
In answer to your question on my last post, yes the pictures were taken with the new camera. Still trying to get my head around it, but getting there slowly!

Rodney Compton said...

Thanks once again Fred, as always I am envious of your energy and talent. Two points of reference: firstly I had a more fleeting but similar experience with a roe buck along the stream pathway at Norman Park/Rookery - a pattern of behaviour at this time of year when the females are nursing?
Secondly, and quoting a local geneticist, aberrations in butterfly species are more common when the colony is in recession - something that became very apparent in my work at White Hill in the 1970's as scrub invaded most of the hillsides on the Eastern valley - could this be the case here?