Monday, 2 May 2016

Monday 2nd. May 2016

With weather conditions seemingly unable to settle down and produce a proper Spring , things in the wild are proving a continued problem to find interesting material , but a few have been found on recent outings .
The Glanville Fritillary larvae at Hutchinson's Bank near Croydon seem to have over-wintered well in the Cutting , emerging to feed and sunbathe on suitable days . It looks like the adults will be seen in good numbers again this year , thanks to the ongoing work by Martin .
On another visit , a confiding LTTit posed on Dogwood , but the two Common Whitethroats in the area were not so willing .
Up on the Common , the Green Tiger Beetles chose a warm day to emerge en masse ,
and on arriving home , found Carol entertaining the first Orange Tip of the year in the back garden . We have also recorded a couple of Holly Blues here , but I have seen any elsewhwere .
A visit to New Hythe produced my first Odonata of the year with 3 freshly emerged Large Red Damselflies ,
an accompaniment of Nightingale song ,
backed up by Blackcaps and a few Willow Warblers .
In reasonable conditions , the High Elms butterfly transect failed to record a single butterfly , but plants like Bugle / Ajuga reptans , a member of the Labiate family are starting to add colour to the grasslands .
This time of year also brings predation , as proved by this Blackbird egg found .
Adder numbers up on the Greensand Ridge remain low , but this slough , the cast off skin , proves they are
 around . I took it home and fully unfurled the slough , it measured approx. 70 cms .
This 'silverback' could well have been the owner of the slough , and before leaving , managed to find my first
female of the season , so the 'silverback' should be lucky .
A few Common Terns were found at Bough Beech Reservoir , along with the odd Swallow feeding over the

water , but some of the residents take some beating for their breeding , 'punky' , plumage . A look around
the area was similarly quiet , apart from a dozing Tawny Owl .
A trip over the border into Surrey found a distant Red Kite , perched on a fence post . I waited ages hoping that it would fly closer . My hopes were raised when 6 Common Buzzards drifted into view , all interacting
amongst each other . When they got close to the Kite , it did take to the wing , but after initially flying
towards me , about turned and disappeared over the horizon . On the way back home , I stopped off on the Greensand Ridge and was treated to a few seconds of ' handbags ' between two male Adders . Referred to
as such , because of the short time and effort involved , nothing like the 40 minutes non-stop witnessed there last year.
A look up on the Common over the weekend produced 8 Brimstone , one seen here nectaring on Spanish
Bluebells , which seem to be coming more and more common in the wild , and 7 Peacock , but no new
species for the year . In areas where the secondary woodland has been cleared , good areas of Common
Cow-Wheat / Melampyrum pratense , a member of the Lousewort family , are taking the advantage of the increased light , and if the Sheep's Sorrel is anything to go by , there should be good numbers of Small
Copper butterfly seen , as it is one of the foodplants of that species .
The forecast is for better , warmer weather , if it's right , this Spring could start to get it's act together .


Phil said...

Glad to see the back of April Greenie. Feels like spring has finally arrived.
New Hythe has been quite eventful lately with Pied Fly, Wheatear, Black Red and Redstart of late.
Good to see Damselfly making an appearance.

poetgilless said...

What wonderful photos and knowledge! Thank you. I was at Bough Beech recently.

roger.wood800 said...

I took a visit to Hutchinson's Bank just over a week ago and was pleased to see about a dozen each of Peacocks and Brimstones, plus smaller numbers of Comma, Speckled Wood, Small White, Small Tortoiseshell and a single Holly Blue. Didn't see any Orange Tips there but did see one the day before yesterday (elsewhere).