Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Tuesday 31st. May 2016

Just as Summer was seemingly getting going , heavy rain and winds today have put the brakes on once again , although I must admit that the garden was much in need of the incessant wet stuff .
Earlier , in better conditions , a look up on the Common produced a few bits of interest ,
a Tick-Ixodida , probably brought in by one of the Roe Deer , deer being a major carrier of the ticks , which in turn can be carriers of Lyme disease , which can be transmitted to humans if they latch on to the body .
The first male Common Heath moths have emerged and as usual , difficult to photograph .
 Amongst the grass , the delicate Dovesfoot Cranesbill-Geranium molle ,
and it looks like there will be a good supply of berries on theflowering Rowan-Sorbus aucaparia .
I've made several visits to Hutchinsons Bank to enjoy the Glanville Fritillaries , and with the emergence of the
females , was lucky enough to see the first pairing and since then , a second pairing has been observed .
The Brimstones that over-wintered as adult , are gradually reducing in numbers as their time is finished , their offspring will appear later in the Summer .
I've found it another disappointing Spring for Orange Tips , and searching for eggs hasn't given much hope for next year , so few being found .
An unusual fly with an orange abdomen , seems to tick the boxes for Rhingia rostrata .
A quick look at Keston Ponds whilst en route to High Elms , found this female Mandarin with her six ducklings , which look very good look alikes for Mallard ducklings at this stage .
The butterfly transects at High Elms are still a struggle to find anything on some sections . Species numbers are up to 11 at best , but total numbers are still way down , once again  I put it down to the fact that much of the grassland was cut far too early last Autumn , destroying many butterfly eggs and larvae in the process .
Common Blue , a typical grassland species have emerged , but only on Burnt Gorse , where the gang mower cannot gt to , thank goodness .
It is also where the few Green Hairstreaks have been recorded , the females now laying the eggs that will be the next generation . After this one moved on , it took some time to find the small pearly green egg , nestled
in the buds of one of their foodplants , Birdsfoot Trefoil .
Also found was the first Garden Chafer-Phyllopertha horticola . No doubt the first of many , as they can be present in very large numbers some years .
The first Birdsnest Ochids have emerged , just four at the moment , but I get the feeling that orchids in
general look as if they are not having a good year so far either . The first White Helleborine also found , and
also the first Common Spotted Orchid to burst bud . Along the paths , evidence of Wych Elm , with lots of leaves and seeds on the ground . Thee fact that the seed is in the middle of the disc , determines that it is
Wych and not another member of the Elm family .
I've made a couple of visits to a site bellow Biggin Hill Airport where it was rumoured that Small Blues were seen last Summer . I'm glad to say that the rumour was true , having found 2 males on each visit and hoping
for more to emerge . Also on site , Swollen Thigh Beetle-Oedemera nobilis , only the male suffers the
swelling and what seems to be a solitary wasp , Gorytes quadrifasciatus .
A couple of stops at Spring Park Pond produced only common species of damselfly , but on vegetation
around the pond , Malachite Beetle or Red-tipped Flower Beetle-Malachius bipustulatus and a very
long-legged , evil looking fly Empis tessellata were found , both in good numbers . In the small meadow , a
well named Oak-striped Bug-Rhabdomiris striatellus was sunning itself on an Oak leaf and nearby ,
Bishop's Mitre-Aelia acuminata posed too . Between the pond and the meadow , the coppiced Small-leaved
Limes are regenerating really well .
My last visit to Hutchinsons Bank at the weekend , produced an opportunity to photograph the second
abarrant Glanville Fritillay , found earlier in the week , a lighter toned individual than the first . At the top of
the site , the Sainfoin-Onobrychis viciifolia , a member of the Pea family has started flowering , adding colour and more nectar for the invertibrates . On my way home , I stopped at a nearby Wych Elm to look for
White-letter Hairstreak larvae . Just two were found , one the usual green form , but the other was my first
 brown form , indicating that it is about to pupate . Strange thing is , I look for these larvae every time I do the HE transect , finding feeding damage on leaves , but never a larva . Also found on the Wych Elm was this
Copper Underwing larva which has cannibalistic tendencies , so WLHs beware .
Back home , we have had Robin , Blackbird and Dunnock fledglings in the garden and after much noise from
the Blue Tit box , all was quiet the other morning apart fro the odd squeak from this little one , on the grass in front of the box . Not a good situation , with several Corvids flying around . so , without much fuss , the
fledgling let me pick it up and place it in the Hawthorn tree . Almost immediately the parents found it and
returned constantly with food . Next time I looked , it was out in the open again and loudly calling for food .It moved several times around the garden and was still calling late evening . I hope it makes it .

1 comment:

Phil said...

Nice post Greenie. Good to see someone is getting out at the moment! What with ongoing work at home and dismal weather, my forays have been severely curtailed of late. Have at least seen Barn Owl along the river just down the road from me.