Thursday, 3 July 2014

Thursday 3rd. July 2014

With things quiet on the bird front , butterflies have taken over . I have made several morning visits to local Purple Hairstreak sites , but haven't manage to find one at any of them . But whilst looking ,
have found many of this seldom-stopping  Ichneumon . The two yellow bands on the abdomen and yellow spot on the top of the thorax , I believe makes it Amblyteles armatorius , or not !
I also failed to find a Chalkhill Blue when I visited the Kent BC site managed for them on Tuesday
morning . The only real interest found was a moth , which I am hoping someone can help identify .
I spent the rest of the morning wandering around the Downs , where I managed to record 14 species

of butterfly , including 4 very fresh Chalkhill Blue . I was also very pleased to find 4 Dark Green Fritillary . The other 12 species were what would be expected , but many of them , especially the

Meadow Brown and Marbled White were found to be infested with Red Mite . The Marble White topped the species count at 231 .
The warmer weather has encouraged more chalk grassland plants to flower , like ,
Common Centaury / Centaurium erythraea ,
Yellow-wort / Blackstonia perfoliata ,
almost in flower Autumn Gentian / Gentianella amarelle , all members of the Gentian family ,
and Sainfoin / Onobrychis viciifolia , a member of the Pea family .
I met up with fellow enthusiast Cliff who asked if I had seen the Privet Hawk Moth on a stile a bit back . I admitted that I had crossed the stile , but hadn't looked behind one of the supporting posts . I
went back and found the moth , a superb male , and managed to wedge a 35mm. film canister alongside it for size comparison , without disturbing it . Almost back at the car , whilst looking over a
log pile , a juvenile Adder was spotted , the only one I saw all visit . No sooner had we grabbed
shots , Cliff spotted a second PHM , again at rest on a fence post , another male , but not in as good condition as the first .
Yesterday I did the full High Elms butterfly transect , which produced 13 species with as expected Meadow Brown and Ringlet way out in front . Small Skipper (32) , Marbled White (29 - 50% down on last year) , and Silver-washed Fritillary (9 including the first female of the year) , being the notables .
This morning , in perfect conditions , I made another visit to Dene Park for Purple Emperor . The conditions were right , but the PE didn't play ball . Several sightings at tree top level , a couple of sorties lower down but never landing , a brief landing by a female with half it's hindwing missing . Much frustration for the 6 or so on site , with no one managing to get a single shot . By 1230 , with the temperature 25C+ , I called it a day . Not a total waste though , as the visit provided an
opportunity to get the White Admiral underwing , and a small amount of purple , in the shape of my first Purple Hairstreak of the year , that dropped into the trackside vegetation , making it almost

impossible to photograph . It only stayed for a short time before heading back for the tree tops . Hopefully the quality of shots will improve on future specimens .  The most unexpected find was a
Golden-ringed Dragonfly that was hawking one of the glades and came to rest high overhead .


Spock said...

Moth looks like another Cabbage Moth, but i only had a quick glance.

Warren Baker said...

Also had my first PH's today Greenie. Would love just one Marbled White to appear here!

roger.wood800 said...

I went to the Downs, yesterday, too, hoping the sunshine would let me get some better photos than I got there earlier in the week. No Chalkhill Blues for me as yet, but it's good to see you have had some first sightings.