Friday, 25 September 2015

Friday 25th. September 2015

The recent weather combined with some 'need to do' jobs , have somewhat curtailed my getting out of late , the most difficult being finding suitable conditions to do the High Elms and Down House butterfly surveys , the DH surveyor being on holiday . I just managed to do both last week , but it was the day after the 'Wednesday deluge' , so the results were on the poor side to put it mildly . HE produced 14 from 6 species , with most looking past their sell by date , like this female Meadow
Brown . DH , with all the paddocks having been cut , produced just12 from 3 species , along with 15
Large White larvae that were doing their best to demolish the brassicas in the walled garden . With the season coming to an end , these will feed up and over-winter as chrysalis , appearing as adults
next Spring .Only other interest found was a Shaggy Parasol / Lepiota rhacodes , in the Sandwalk
woodland at DH , and some fine specimens of Turkey Tail / Polyporus giganteus , on the base of a
Beech tree outside the car park at HE .
With the promise of a dry day on Wednesday , I headed for Reculver , mainly to try and catch up with the late emerging Willow Emerald Damselfly , but on arrival found myself drawn to the areas of
Everlasting Pea / Lathyrus latifolius , the foodplant of the migrant Long-tailed Blue butterfly . I had read that the odd one or two had been seen in Sussex recently , and hoped that I might find one here . Three hours later , having scoured every pea flower in the area , I gave up , not having even had a glimpse of my hoped for rarity , the wind , blowing in off the sea didn't help . The only butterflies
seen were a dozen or so Small White , a single Peacock and Comma and two Large White . A lone
male Migrant Hawker was found warming up in the sun , whilst the Common Toadflax was still
trying to shake off it's morning dew . Disappointed , I moved on to the other side of the Thanet way to search for thr Willow Emerald Damselfly . If anything , the wind was even stronger here , but it
was also a bit warmer . The North Stream only turned up a female Migrant Hawker , so I started searching the overhanging Willows and the roadside hedges , where the Ivy flowers were busy with lots of Common Wasps , various Hoverflies , but dominated by the recently colonizers  from Europe ,
the Ivy Bee / Colletes hedera , with it's ginger thorax and strikingly striped abdomen . They were first
found along the south coast some 20 years ago , but have now spread well above the Thames valley from what I have read . Eventually it was back to the overhanging Willows on the North Stream and
after a bit more searching , found my first of 3/4 WEDs . With the wind , they were tending to stay
close to the ground , making them not very easy to photograph . One individual did try to help though
, when it landed on my hand . Before leaving the area , I returned to the towers and walked out to Coldharbour and back in pleasant conditions . The tide was just on the turn back out again , but birds were definitely at a premium . Half way down , I met a birder on his way back to the car park , and he said nothing to raise my hopes of a find . A small flock of Meadow Pipit danced on the shingle and
the sea wall in front of me , one posing momentarily , a couple of Stonechat , always keepng just out of camera range , a flock of Goldfinch , plundering the seedheads and two Wheatear , one caught in 
the split second between landing and immediately taking off again  . Most plants along the way had gone to seed , but a couple of Yellow-horned Poppy / Glaucium flavum , had single flowers and their
long seed pods from which the 'horned' part of their name comes from . Apart from that , it was the expected species , and no sighting of the hoped for Black Redstart .
This morning I did what will be the last full transects at HE and DH . The latter produced just 4 Meadow Brown and 2 Speckled Wood , and a brief sighting of a female Roe Deer . HE went one 
better with 4 Meadow Brown , 3 Speckled Wood and a single Holly Blue , a female , faded , but still 
good to see . The only surprise was 10/15 Hornets , mostly near the golf car park and a couple in the

bottom glade . This one posed head on and threatening , but was more interested in warming up than bothering with me .
This afternoon , making the most of the weather , I headed up onto the Greensand Ridge looking for
any sign of breeding . The only Adders found were this male , and a year old female , probably born
about this time last year . No neonates were found on the visit , all in all , I don't think this was a good breeding season up on the Ridge .


Chris Rohrer said...

Bummer about the lack of species. It can be hit or miss some days. The Adders are interesting. I hope that some breeding has occurred somewhere. Love the Ivy Bee and Meadow Pipit:)

Phil said...

It's nearing the end of the season (sadly) but you're still managing to pack in the species Greenie. Will look out for the Ivy Bee, don't think I've seen one yet. Like the WED pics!