Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Wednesday 18th. May 2016

A couple of visits around locally proved very disappointing , but I did manage to find the first Brimstone egg
of the season , typically laid on a leaf of freshly emerging Alder Buckthorn . Apart from a couple of Orange
Tips , Spring Park Pond only offered up a 10-spot Ladybird /Adalia 10-punctata , a variable species .
The High Elms butterfly transects continue to be more walking than recording , but did produce what has
been seen to be one of the last over-wintering Commas , before the new brood appears late June or early July . Bee-flies don't seem to have been held back by the variable Spring weather , and it hasn't taken them
long to produce the next generation , even when on the wing as these two were .
Getting home brought better luck , with a male Holly Blue taking salts in next door's garden / building site ,
and in our garden I watched this female Orange Tip examine every Cuckoo Flower and Garlic Mustard plant
several times , before she decided to lay her egg on an Honesty plant . Whilst down on the bottom lane , the
Rook youngsters look as if they will fledge at any moment , and sure enough as I passed this morning , the nests were empty and it was all quiet .
A look around Bough Beech and surrounding area found several Common Whitethroat like this one and at least 2 possibly 3 male Nightingales , heard but not seen .
Lifting an old piece of tin produced this juvenile Slow Worm , identified by the dark marking along its back , attempting to tuck into a worm that was bigger than it's self . I replaced the tin and left them to it .
In a sunny glade , I was treated to an ariel ballet by male Green Long-horn Moths / Adela Reaumurella .
A caterpillar Carol found in the garden turned out to be that of the Lesser Yellow Underwing moth .
A look around Hutchinsons Bank found good numbers of Brimstones , the males , like this one , attempting to ground the female to mate with her , but this one was unsuccessful as she flew up and away .
It also provide my first Grizzled Skipper sighting of the year .
Back in the garden I found the daddy of Leopard Slugs / Limax maximus , curled up on the edge of a 2" paving slab .
A butterfly / orchid day out with Martin , started out on his patch Hutchinsons Bank with the first Glanville

Fritillaries to emerge . Just the two , but a great start to the day , before heading off to East Kent , before the dreaded M25 came into play with a long tailback between Jct.4 and 3 , so we had to pass 3 and make our way via Jct.2 , making for a later arrival than hoped for at Denge Wood , where the Duke of Burgundy were
found in reasonable numbers . Like other sites , not many other species were found , but some consolation
were the Lady Orchids , which were just coming into flower . Good numbers of Early Purple , several Greater Butterfly Orchid , though still in bud , were also found . Moving on to Park Gate Down , we had the first of two shocks , being not a sign of Monkey Orchid . Neither of us had been on site for some years and both had seen them on our last visits , but nothing this time . After a circuit of the site , we found a female
Red Admiral , again one of the few butterflies seen , laying her eggs on nettles . She stayed for a couple of
minutes and when she left we found one of her eggs . Arriving back at the car came the second shock , finding that I no longer had the car keys hanging from my belt . Out in the middle of nowhere , 50 odd miles from home and no means to get there . Fortunately , Martin remembered hearing a 'jangling sound' not long after our arrival , as we were searching at the top of the quarry . With Martin atanding where he thought he was when he heard the sound , I looked around and 5/10 metres away were the keys . Relieved , we pressed on to our last stop of the day , Marden Meadow , to enjoy the superb show of Green-winged
Orchids . The majority were of the purple variety , but a few pink and white ones were also found . A most enjoyable day and we managed to get home without any more shocks .
Another visit to High Elms was no better for butterflies , but the first Fly Orchids in flower were found , along
with a single Man Orchid , but still no sign of any Birdsnest Orchids .
Hutchinsons Bank provided excitement when Martin and I saw an abarrant form of Glanville Fritillary as we searched The Cutting . Unfortunately it didn't stay around for long , disappearing through the trees and down
towards the bridleway at the bottom of the site . This is the usual GF , resting on my finger , and this is the

abarrent form , probably 'ab. wittei'. It seems to causing a bit of a stir in the butterfly world , with visitors arriving hoping for a sighting . A GF pupa was also found by one of those visitors , attached to a large stone ,
the first one I have ever seen . I also had my frist Small Blue sighting , a male , only the third sighting this year
on the site to my knowledge .Unfortunately , the weather has turned today , just when a sunny , dry spell would have been perfect for the butterflies and all concerned .


Mike H said...

Great post as always, seems you were extra lucky with those car keys

Ken. said...

Nice read concerning all the different species of wildlife that you saw on your day out. Nice photo's to go with it.

roger.wood800 said...

Great post, well worth the wait! The GF aberration seems more of a match to ab. horvathi than wittei. Must get to HB to see them.
Last weekend I went to Saltbox Hill and I too saw a female Orange Tip egg laying. It was good to see a large amount of the scrub has now been cleared and the site seems to be recovering, albeit the flowering plants still seem a bit sparse. It also appears the grazing animals have now been taken off the site.

Spock said...

Its and exact match to the wittei illustrated in Thomas and Lewington IOW 1929

It is definaly not the one you mention as it that lacks several features like the feint double line on the forewings. The IOW 1929 one is exact.

roger.wood800 said...

(My reference to horvathi came from the 1978 book Aberrations of British Butterflies by A Russwurm. I later did some Googling and - as well as coming across Greenie's own photo (you uploaded that quick!) - there was also a weight of other evidence to suggest that my book might have got some of the names crossed)