Sunday, 28 June 2015

Sunday 28th. June 2015

Catching up with a few recent visits :
Not expecting much , a look up on the Greensand Ridge produced 10 Adders , including this male ( head centre ) and female ( head left ) , looking more pre-mating than post-mating , and another male
 that had obviously had a good meal over the last few days .
The High Elms butterfly transect improved somewhat with 13 species being recorded . The highlight was a brief sighting of a very clean Tortoiseshell butterfly on the top rail of the 5 bar gate on Burnt Gorse . When I spotted it , it was wings open and four things stood out , the size , noticeably larger than a Small , the colour , rusty red unlike the vibrant red of the Small , no white markings on the forewing and four black spots on the forewing . Without taking my eyes off the butterfly , I slowly raised my camera . Half way to my eye , it snapped it's wings shut and at shoulder level it took off like an Exocet missile , clearing the surrounding tall trees in no time . I stood there cursing my luck that I had just missed a shot of either a Scarce / Yellow-Legged or Large Tortoiseshell . The few seconds I had , I wasn't able to be more specific . It still hurts now as my only other sighting was about 10 years ago up on the Common , and that was a tatty individual , but I did get 2 shots before that one disappeared . A couple of visits since failed to get another sighting .
Small consolation was finding about 50 Yellow Birdsnest  / Monotropa hypopitys , a long way short of the 1,000+ that were found a few years ago .
A large hoverfly , Volucella pellucens , was nectaring on Dog Rose ,
whilst nearby , a similar but smaller insect , which I haven't been able to ID yet , was doing likewise .
A look up on the Common , got my first Ringlet of the year ,
and a very fresh female Small Tortoiseshell looking to oviposit .
On the same Brambles , a well marked micro moth , which I have been informed is an Orange-spot Piercer ,
and in the long grass , Crow Garlic / Allium vineale , a member of the Lily family , just starting to flower .
A visit to Sevenoaks Reserve for Odonata was thwarted by cloud rolling in shortly after my arrival , but managed this pair of Common Blue Damselfly in tandem before the sun went .
Out front of Willow Hide , two cygnets waited for mum to deliver the tasty weed from the bottom .
Canada Goose numbers will definitely be larger next year as proved on Long Lake . Two Kingfishers were seen in the Willows beyond and large Carp were thrashing the water whilst spawning .
A morning visit to Cliffe Pools found just three Scarce Emerald Damselflies , all males and all
immatures , as they were only just getting the pruinescence on the first two segments and the end of
the abdomen . No Emerald Damselfly sightings , and apart from a few immature Ruddy Darter . The most numerous species found were Blue-tailed Damselfly and in the butterfly world , Small Heath were everywhere .
The next four hours I spent wondering around Ranscombe Farm at Cuxton , a Plant Life Reserve .
Just a few of the plant species seen were ;
Common Broomrape / Orobanche minor ,
Corn Cockle / Agrostemma githago , a member of the Pink family ,
Vervain / Verbena officinalis , a member of the Verbena family ,
Field Pansy / Viola arvensis , a member of the Violet family ,
and my favourite on the day , Wild Liquorice / Astragalus glycyphyllos , a member of the Pea family. Apart from a couple of Common Buzzard over the woods , the best non plant interest was a Plum
Weevil / Otiorhynchus clavipes , a first for me .
 On my way home , I stopped off at Farningham Woods for my yearly dose of Deptford Pink / Dianthus armeria , a rare and one of my favourite flowers .
Carol's contribution to this post was finding this female Peppered Moth , whilst watering the garden .
And finally , my favourite shot from Ranscombe Farm , a pair of Sicus ferrugineus caught in a compromising position and being photo bombed by a mining bee .

1 comment:

Phil said...

Nice varied post Greenie. Bad luck with the camera shy Tortoiseshell, I can imagine your frustration!! Good to see some Adder activity.