Friday, 1 August 2014

Friday 1st. August 2014

Three outings to catch up on since last weekend's excitement with the Odonata .
Purple Hairstreaks are still in poor numbers , especially those that are willing to come down for a
shot , and they are rapidly losing their purple scales on the wings . Whilst searching for them , I did
come across a very pale male Gatekeeper . A female of normal colouration for comparison . Martin tells me that this tends to occur in hot Summers like we are having this year .
On Wednesday I did the High Elms butterfly transect . 21 species were recorded , with the highlights
being 21 Silver-washed Fritillary , 8 Brown Argus including this very freshly emerged male , 8
Brimstone , 13 Peacock and one Red Admiral ( pictured ) , mostly nectaring on the now fully opened Hemp Agrimony . Just one White-letter Hairstreak was recorded , but White Admiral caterpillars are
now up to four , but their growth rate is hardly discernible . Yesterday I headed up onto the Downs in search of Chalkhill Blues , making my first stop at White Hill , the Kent BC reserve near Shoreham ,
where numbers found were low , just 35/50 , compared to 100s in other years . A few females were
seen , brown like many Blue species females , but no mating pairs on site . Moving on , I got my top
sighting of the day , a pristine female Painted Lady , found resting by the side of a path , before she
flew up to nectar on Small Scabious , showing that beautiful underwing . A bit further on , I did find
a mating pair of Chalkhill Blues , amongst some 118 recorded on the site . Mind you , it wasn't all good for the species , especially for the two who managed to get ensnared in the web of this female
Wasp Spider . It appeared that she was feasting on one and leaving the other for 'Ron' . Just before getting back to the car , I got a shot of a Blue species female that isn't brown , the Holly Blue ,
identified as a female by the large dark blue marking on the top of her forewing . In total I recorded 16 species , with Chalkhill Blues pushing Meadow Brown into second place , and Gatekeeper third .
I decided to loop round and have a look at Bough Beech Reservoir on my way home , and on arrival finding Rob and Alison hoping to see the Great White Egret , but as yet unsuccessful . Before the binoculars came out , we had a good catch up before they left to do some shopping . Good to see you guys again . The water level was well down on last visit , and the area where I photographed the GWE last visit had dried out , revealing the spillway of the stream that runs into the North lake .
Surprisingly , in that area , three Common Snipe were feeding out in the open , and they were soon
joined by two Greenshank , one of which showed well , whilst the other washed and preened . It
proved to be a very popular area as two Green Sandpipers flew in a little later . What seemed like a family party of small waders were seen flying around the island and calling , but impossible to ID at that distance . Thankfully they flew straight towards the causeway and landed on the concrete apron
and revealed that they were Common Sandpipers , with a Lapwing in the same area giving a good
size comparison . Only other interest found was a juvenile Mandarin that paddled by .


Phil said...

The Painted Lady underwing is great Greenie, as is the Red Admiral I think.

Warren Baker said...

Just come back from BB Greenie, you did well to get those images through all the vegetation on the banks, plus the hawthorn hedge being so tall :-)