Sunday, 1 June 2014

Sunday 1st. June 2014

A busy day yesterday , and didn't have time to post at the end of it . I started with the Down House bird survey which produced an above average 23 species . Just one migrant , Common Whitethroat , but was pleased to record Yellowhammer and Bullfinch . Got soaked in the large meadow with the
overnight dew , and also put up a Roe doe , which in turn put up a buck , both originally unseen in the
long grass ., but with only the 100mm. macro lens on the camera , didn't get very close , and both
headed for the shaded side of the meadow . In the Sandwalk woodland , the first Violet Heleborine was found , hope the deer don't find it . Also in the
long grass , a plain but striking moth , that landed on my wellie , any ideas ? Six species of butterfly were also recorded . From there I headed for High Elms LNR to do the full butterfly transect , hoping that the sunshine would last . Once again , the Conservation fields were very poor , with just three
butterflies recorded , which included a nice fresh Small Tortoiseshell . In all , just 27 butterflies of 9
species were recorded , and that included 16 Common Blue . A single Red Admiral was the first for a
while , and a Small White was captured nectaring on one of the many Pyramidal Orchids coming into flower . Burnt Gorse didn't produce with the butterflies , but other interest included the Golden-
bloomed Grey Longhorn Beetle / Agapanthia villosoviridescens , a species I remember finding last
year at Spring Park Pond , and a first for me , a Firebug / Pyrrhocoridae sp. , Not Firebug , is is Rhopalid Bug / Corizus hyoscyami . Thanks to Ispot for the ID . I'm still working on the
full ID . Also found , 4 Bee Orchids / Ophrys apifera , with another 4 specimens found later on the Orchid Bank , along with another 7 Fly Orchids . The cloud did roll in for the latter part of the transect , but the usually productive areas had been covered in good conditions , so the overall numbers should have been much better .
From there I headed for Hutchinson's Bank , again in search of newly emerged Glanville Fritillaries , and to meet Martin to take possession of some 'little jewels' , more of that next post . The Cutting was crowded , well , there were 5/6 people there , all hoping for a Glanville sighting , one having been lucky earlier in the day . Unfortunately the cloud followed me from High Elms and the sun went for long periods of time , and with it any real chance of Glanville sightings . A few other species of
butterfly were seen and then a large longhorn beetle in the long grass to one side . From head to tip of
abdomen this specimen measured 2.5-3 cms. , probably the largest longhorn beetle that any of us had seen , but no one was able to ID it . I spent a lot of time searching images last evening , but failed to find it , so this morning put it on Ispot , to see what the experts made of it . Within a few minutes , back came the ID , Variable Longhorn Beetle / Stenocorus meridianus , sounding like something out of pre-historic times . Leaving the Cutting , we left for a look around the rest of the site for GF , but without success . But on the way back , Martin's eagle eye spotted a Privet Hawk Moth resting on
Hawthorn scrub , a great find , it is our largest moth , with a wingspan of 10cms. / 4" in old money .
It certainly went some way to missing out on the GFs , but the excitement was not over yet . As we got to the exit of the site , a female Peacock butterfly was spotted , egg-laying on the underside of a
Stinging Nettle leaf , her green eggs showing just above her wing on the nettle leaf . She took no notice of us photographing her , and was still busy at work as we left . Hopefully , many will survive , and I'll try and remember to photograph the caterpillars when they hatch .


Marc Heath said...

Great post Greenie, there seem to be loads of Small Tortoiseshell around a the moment, a lovely sight.

Warren Baker said...

Butterfly numbers are not too good here Greenie, especially the Whites.

Alan Pavey said...

A nice variety of insects there Greenie, how you find the eggs and butterflies laying them is always very impressive :-)

KentishPlumber said...

Hi Greenie, Longhorn Beetle — Stenocorus meridianus