Friday, 8 August 2014

Friday 8th. August 2014

Waiting for the rain to come at least gave a chance to catch up on photos and to do a catch up post .
The bird survey at Down House produced an average 21 species with the only standout being two Swallows over the cricket field , the first hirondine of the year on the site , unusual as the site is surrounded by farmland and a golf course . 9 species of butterfly were also recorded on the way
round , as were lots of Hull City and Wolverhampton Wanderer supporters , in the form of Cinnabar Moth caterpillars . In the Sandwalk Wood , the Violet Helleborine have finished flowering , and have
now gone to seed , hopefully to produce more plants in the future . On the way home , Keston Ponds failed to produce any hoped for Sm. Red-eyed Damselflies , but the larger Red-eyed Damselflies are
still about in good numbers , including several ovipositing females like this one in tandem with it's partner . Two Brown Hawkers and two Emperors were also seen , a female Emperor landing right in
front of me to lay her eggs , the green on her abdomen having been turned blue by the recent hot spell . Walking locally , a couple of new hoverflies for me and a black and yellow specimen that I had to ask the experts for an identification .
Hoverfly - Chrysotoxum festivum ,
Hoverfly / Bumblebee mimic - Eristalis rufomaculata ,
Figwort Sawfly / Tenthredo scrophulariae .
Yesterday I made a return visit to New Hythe , a last attempt to get a better shot of the Lesser Emperor . I spent two hours in the area where Keith and I had several sightings , but apart from a
couple of Brown Hawkers feeding , the only other dragonfly I saw was this male Migrant Hawker , resting on the already ripening haws . I decided it wasn't to be , and headed back to the car . As I passed alongside Brooklands Lake , a vacant , reed enclosed fishing platform , tempted me in for a look , and almost immediately I had a LE sighting as it tussled briefly with a Common Darter before disappearing , and my camera was still stowed away . I got myself ready again and hoped for another sighting . Whilst waiting , a bit of practice on a pair of CDs , ovipositing in tandem , managed to
catch the moment the end of the female's abdomen dipped into the water and released an egg . The
very next frame showed the splash from her abdomen still there , but they had moved on to deposit the next egg . A second LE sighting was just a glimpse as it passed by . Also whilst waiting , I was
joined by two female Red Admirals , both intent on laying their eggs on a small patch of nettles . On average , you have just seven seconds , before she is airborne again , and in breezy conditions , not
the easiest of tasks .  When she moved on , the egg could be found , layed singly on the topside of a nettle leaf . I must admit , I got a bit distracted from the LE , but was brought back on track by the arrival of Terry Laws , who has spotted me from the far side of the lake . Catching up , he told me that he had had sightings along the Millstream and on the Motorway Lake , in recent days . Another 2/3 sightings , then on the next pass , the dragonfly perched on a reed stem about 4 metres away . Trouble was that that stem was amongst many others and to get the camera to focus was almost impossible . Terry went further along the bank and got some underside shots , and thankfully , I
managed just one side on shot before it flew off again . Not in the best condition , with a lot of wing damage , but that blue down the side of the abdomen says female to me , and Terry is also convinced from the shots he took . The specimen I got the rear end shot of with Keith was just brown on the abdomen , so hopefully breeding will have occurred , and the species could become a regular on site in the future . Just before we split up , we watched a pair of GCGrebes with two youngsters , the female keeping the youngsters tucked up on her back and the male proving a good provider , as
this youngster got a meal that was nearly as big as itself . Terry left to have his lunch at the Abbey Mead sighting area , whilst I headed back to the car to get mine , and on the way , got a closer view
of the GCG family , but the adult spotted me and took the youngsters out of my view . After lunch , I headed to White Hill , Shoreham , hoping to find better numbers of Chalkhill Blues than on my last visit . Numbers were slightly up , but still nothing like what should be expected . The good news was that I found a good number of females , many of which were busy laying eggs on and around the species foodplant , Horseshoe Vetch . On the bottom lane on the way home , about a dozen Swallows
were on the wires , preening and chattering , not long before they will be on their way .
Two snippets from the garden , Carol had a Jersey Tiger moth on Tuesday and this morning , shouted upstairs that a Sparrowhawk had landed by the feeders . By the time I got the camera it had moved ,
but managed to snatch one shot before it left , looks like a juvenile to me ? And finally , is it just around here , or is there a general lack of Holly berries this year ?


Warren Baker said...

Did the rain ever arrive ? Not really!

Well done on getting the LE photo's Greenie, a good species for your photographic collection :-)

Holly around these parts never seems to produce much fruit, I always blamed the Greenfinches, they get to the berries before they ripen :-)

Marc Heath said...

Great stuff Greenie, persistence paid off with a lovely shot.

Rodney Compton said...

In respect of your interest in dragonflies etc, I was delighted earlier on this year - about a month back,
to see the banded agrion (Demoiselle) in the water course through Norman's Park