Friday, 13 June 2014

Friday 13th. June 2014

On Wednesday , a walk around Hutchinsons Bank and across the road at Chapel Bank produced my first Ringlet of the year , but out of Kent , and several Cinnabar Moths . Always on the move and
closing wings as soon as they did land , they led me a merry dance for a while . But before I ran out
of steam , managed to get a few open wing shots of one specimen . Only other thing different to get in the viewfinder was another hoverfly first for me , Xanthogramma pedissequum , try saying that
coming out of the pub .
Yesterday , Martin and I had an away day , with our first stop at Fairmile Common , not far from Junct.10 of the M25 . We arrived about 0900 , and in the warm sunshine , our target was already on the wing , Silver-studded Blue , though numbers were small as they have only just started emerging .
once warmed up , the males got down to scrapping amongst themselves and frantically searching for
a mate , of which only two were seen . As with several of the Blues , the female being brown , but the
female does show off her 'silver studs' on the back of the hindwing , better than the male does . Aloso like some other Blues , this butterfly has a very close relationship with black ants , the ants attend the larvae and in return receive sugar rich secretions . Martin found a freshly emerged male still being
attended by two of these black ants .
From there , we headed down the A3 to one of my favourite sites , Thursley Common , a site that was once the holy grail of Odonata . I'm afraid that isn't the case now , as after two and a half hours
searching the site , 10/15 Four-spotted Chaser , 2 Keeled Skimmer , male pictured , and a few Large Red , Azure and Common Blue Damselflies was all the Odonata that was found. Because of the lack of dragonflies , our Hobby sighting was restricted to just one that appeared to be over flying . But it

wasn't all doom and gloom on the way around , with several sightings of a male Cuckoo , interestingly , in the same area where I photographer the Great Grey Shrike a couple of years ago . A
female Kestrel also afforded good views as she passed by but no replacement for the lack of Hobbies , and Common Crossbill were heard more than seen in the very tops of some tall Pines . Best sighting for me was the cousin of the Green Tiger Beetle from the last post , the Wood Tiger Beetle /
Cicindela sylvatica , a species seen in books , but a first for real for me . I also tried to photograph Digger Wasps along the sandy tracks , but having warmed up , I found it an impossibility . Only just edged out for best find was this female Raft Spider / Dolomedes fimbriatus , found in the ditch
alongside the main boardwalk . Including legs , she was about 3.5-4 cms  , suspended on the surface tension . They can fully submerge themselves to hide from predators or to ambush prey . The Early

Marsh Orchids were past their best , but a 2/3 white specimens were an unusual find . Just starting to
flower was the Bog Aspodel /Narthecium ossifragum . We decided to make one last visit , to Botany Bay / Oaken Wood to try for Wood White butterfly . Cutting cross country , we arrived in no time , having the whole parking area to ourselves ! heading down the track to the bridge and on to the triangle , just Brimstone and Speckled Wood were seen . Beyond the triangle , a Wood White was seen , but stubbornly refused to stop for anything more than a second to nectar , before heading further down the track towards Oaken Wood . We saw 2/3 specimens , but never managed a shot . Large Skipper and Small Tortoiseshell were added , but that was about it . By now the easy availability of parking became obvious . The only shot taken on an hour and a half visit was this worn
Brimstone on one of my favourite plants , Orange Hawkweed / Pilosella aurantiacum .
With a change in the weather for the weekend , today I did the High Elms butterfly transect . More butterflies , 86 , but 58 of those were newly emerged Meadow Brown , and one species less with 8.
 That did though include my first 'Kent' Ringlet of the year , pictured , and 4 Red Admiral , including two egg laying females . This specimen was very interested in two small Stinging Nettles at a gap in

the bridlepath , settling three times . When she moved on I found her three eggs , one pictured . Only
other interest found , a Speckled Bush-cricket / Leptophyes punctatissima .nectaring on Dog Rose .


Alan Pavey said...

Nice post Greenie, it really is insect time, greatly illustrated :-)

Wilma said...

Very interesting, that relationship between the black and and the blues and what a nice shot you got of them together. Excellent shot of the red admiral egg, always a challenge for me to get those egg shots..

Phil said...

The Raft spider and the Wood Tiger beetle do it for me Greenie. Great shot of the Silver-studded and ants!