Saturday 31 May 2008

31 May 2008 Queendown Warren, Kent

With news of Terek Sand at Rye, Whiskered Tern and Red-footed Falcon at Stodmarsh, the choice of trip this morning was easy - avoid both sites and head for Queendown Warren!

Lots of stuff around - orchids, beetles, plants, reptiles, but alas, no Terek Sands, Red-footed Falcons or Whiskered Terns.

31 May 2008 Queendown Warren - Beetles

A couple of stonking males Stag Beetles. First one located in flight as it flew towards a Hawthorn tree, nearly knocking it over in the process.
Thought that one of the beetles uncovered was a female Lesser Stag Beetle - but now not so sure. Comments appreciated. As for the other two beasties - guess I'll just have to wait till Lee Gregory has a view of these pages and can send some identification suggestions through.

31 May 2008 Queendown Warren - Adonis Blues

I haven't really got any nice snaps of Adonis Blue, so this was one of my target species for the day. Several on the wing, including mating pairs, individuals with odd wings, adults taking minerals from dog shit and just some nice ones pearching out in the open shouting, "Oi Baldie, take my picture!".

31 May 2008 Queendown Warren - Stuff!

Adder and Common Lizard were both new, in terms of species I've snapped for the Grand Photo Competition with Paul. Not sure that these snaps are going to be short-listed, but at least I now know the whereabouts of fours Adders at Queendown Warren - we'll see.
The Broad-bodied Chaser put in a good performance, as did several Brown Argus - or is that Brown Argi?

Friday 30 May 2008

30 May 2008 Wye, Kent

Promises of Burnt-tip and Late Spider Orchid drew me like a moth to a light to meet up with The Spaniel and Mr Bootlace. Arrived later than others - even from the middle of Wye it was easy to spot two pillocks wandering over the Downs. A failure seemed even more inevitable when a call through to James Hunter confirmed we'd be out of luck. We were.
Evening rescued by The Good Lady who suggested trying out the New Flying Horse in Wye - now who am I to turn down such an offer?

Wednesday 28 May 2008

27 May 2008 Chappets Wood, Hants

An early morning visit to the Doctor confirmed that I was in danger of contracting man flu. Clearly I should not go to work - indeed, spreading my germs around the family home could put the good lady wife in danger of this terrible disease. The prescription: fresh air.
Taking the nature of the illness most seriously, I rang Lorna to arrange a day out. Shortly afterwards, the Bearded One and I were heading for Chappets Wood (spelling?), not far off the A30.
One Sword-leaved Helleborine seen along the road leading to the wood - in the wood itself, vast carpets (well, a few hundred plants). The rain of the past few days had caused lots of petal spotting so few flowers were really photographable.
The Bearded One wandered off in his usual senile, "where am I?", way, only to wander aimlessly back with tales of White Helleborine and Bird's Nest Orchid - yeh, right. I then followed The Bearded One who showed me several White Helleborine and a very smart Bird's Nest orchid - nice. A mass of strange snails mooching around, provided me with a new species - though I have no idea exactly which species as yet.
We headed off to explore New Forest stuff.
A call from Mr Bootlace informed me that he and The Spaniel would be heading for Cornwall to see the Small-flowered Tongue Orchid on Thursday - I wasn't sure that I could do Thursday.

27 May 2008 Rame Head, Cornwall

With Paul and Dan's Thursday trip to Cornwall in mind, the car load of the Bearded One and I, discussed the rather daft option of heading south...

Heading south, we crossed into Cornwall via the Torpoint vehicle ferry - free in one way and only a £1 on the return leg. A criss-cross of country lanes and, eventually, we were in the right car park. Armed with Adrian's rather precise inch by inch directions we immediately got lost. Only skill, a sixth sense and copious quantities of luck found us in the right spot - fantastic!

Tuesday 27 May 2008

27 May 2008 Buckfastleigh, Devon

The day had been going well...

In celebration of events thus far, the Bearded One enticed me into the Abbey Inn - not for beverages, of course, but to witness the Greater Horseshoe Bat colony that vacates a cave they call 'home', at dusk every evening.

Armed with bins, camera gear, bat detector and a pint of Carling, we waited - and then it all happened - excellent.

Monday 26 May 2008

25 May 2008 - The Lakes, Larkfield

Common Tern seen this morning from the rear bedroom was a new species for the house. Another Hobby put in a brief appearance but chose not to hang around long enough to be grilled.

22 May 2008 - Detling

A quick visit to Stockbury Wood produced a nice selection of orchids - all within elbow distance.

Wednesday 21 May 2008

21 May 2008 - Homefield Wood, Bucks

A quick post meeting in the depths of Buckinghamshire produced some welcome distractions from the minutes of the previous meeting. Military Orchids were putting on a nice performance - though I suspect not as good as I remember them in previous years. A selection of butterflies on the wing included several pairs of Common Blues - next year's generation of butterflies were clearly being created today...

Monday 19 May 2008

19 May 2008 - Holly Hill, Kent

A quick lunchtime dash to Holly Hill in the quest for an improvement in my Green Hairstreak pics, found me circumnavigating the 'Road Closed' signs. Unable to access my usual stake-out, a quick look over the bank produced half a dozen White Helleborine - nice.

A visit later in the day with The Spaniel and 'The Bearded One' successfully resulting in one of best specimens adopting a new 'angle' after finding itself trying to grow under the pressure of someone's knee.
Quite a few insects (fly spp) seen walking over and 'tasting' the plants. Hopefully Diptera will remain an unexplored angle to my natural history interests!

Sunday 18 May 2008

18 May 2008 - Goring Bridge

A morning visit to Goring Bridge to get fellow Bearded Baldie a hoped-for Club-tailed Dragonfly, found us heading to Goring Bridge this lovely Sunday morning. A closed footpath meant that clambering over a fence or two and wandering through a couple of wet fields was all in order.

The day had been chosen as the Hot News on the Dragonfly website had mentioned that a couple had been seen already this year.

Immediately on arrival we found one insect, right under the bridge - half out of its exuvia with wings only 15mm this poor specimen had clearly died in the final throws of attaining adulthood. I decided to take pictures later after we had found some live specimens. (We later returned to this specimen only to find that it had flown off!! Further nymphs, still wet, were clambering up the brickwork to finally break free and fly off for a life of copulating before succuming to the local Hobby).

Ten minutes later I wasn't feeling quite so comfortable about my choice of day. One minute after that, the first of 20+ Club-tails were located in the riverside vegetation.

During the searches a few other bits were found, including one insect species that I couldn't even say what order it was in.
A successful day, made all the better by following the footpath as far as we could, only to realise that it wasn't closed along the stretch to the car so our wet feet earlier had been completely unnecessary.
Finally got home at noon - to find the wife still in bed - perfect...

Sunday 11 May 2008

6-11 May 2008 Abbotts' Wood, Sussex & Kent

A few lunchtime trips to Holly Hill produced my first pictures of Dingy Skipper and Holly Blue. A sunny afternoon trip to Abbott's Wood in East Sussex was great for the sheer volume of Pearl-bordered Fritts, but all were far too flighty given the above average temperatures.

Monday 5 May 2008

5 May 2008 Bonsai Bank & Westbere, Kent

A return journey to Bansai to improve on my photos to the Dukes proved a rather wasteful time when, after arriving home, I realised one of camera settings had been left on while I'd been mucking around with the dials the evening before. Post bonsai, a quick return to Westbere got me a few dragonfly year ticks (Variable Damselfly) and a rather cooperative Speckled Wood which was just pleading for me to take a few portraits of it.

4 May 2008 Elmley RSPB

With news of two Black-winged Stilts on the Isle of Sheppey, a continuation of the morning's orchid trip found me driving along the access track to Elmley RSPB. With the photo competition in mind, I used the car to stalk a few birds and then a couple of mammals - most surprising of which was a Hedgehog running across the road at break-neck speed (well, fast for Hedgehog anyway).