Thursday, 19 July 2018

Tiger at Cranford CP

Firstly I have now amended yesterdays blog as I mis-identified one of the species of butterfly I saw - so yesterdays butterfly count was actually 15 species including the Brown Argus which I mistakenly called a Common Blue
 
I was back at the park again today but primarily to look for the kestrels - sadly still no sign of any juveniles and again only one brief sighting of the adult male as he flew towards the woods - I will check again next week
 
The 'girls' (our resident cattle) were mooching along one of the paths
 
 
Most of the brambles are already bearing fruit but where there were the odd flowers there were Gatekeeper butterflies - four in the photo below

 
I've not seen that many ladybirds this season and I can certainly say that Harlequin numbers are right down on previous years - but I did find a larva and pupa today

 
 
There is one particular hoverfly that I've been trying to photograph without success - the huge ugly Volucella zonaria - and again today it evaded me but instead I found something even more special
 
A beautiful Jersey Tiger moth





 
 
Nathalie Mahieu and myself found one in exactly the same area back on August 27th 2016 but it was quite high up in the buddleia and my photos weren't all that good - todays little beauty was at head level and allowed me to get very close
 
According to the Butterfly Conservation website this species is general found on the south coast with only a few records from the London area so I will submit my record to my UKBMS mentor
 
I may not have found the kestrels but I did find a tiger

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Butterflies and more from Cranford CP

I had a very productive count on my UKBMS butterfly transect today - a total of 234 butterflies of 15 species during a 90 minute route walk - full tally count below
 
Small Skipper x 6
Essex Skipper x 2
Large Skipper x 3
Large White x 61
Small White x 17
Small Copper x 10
Common Blue x 4
Brown Argus x 2
Holly Blue x 4
Red Admiral x 6
Comma x 2
Speckled Wood x 13
Gatekeeper x 70
Meadow Brown x 34
and my shock find of the day - Purple Hairstreak x 1
 
The Purple Hairstreak was totally unexpected and a first for me at Cranford CP - normally these unassuming small butterflies are found high up in oak trees but this one was in the grass by some buddleia and by the time I had registered what it was the little beauty had flown along with any photo opportunity I nearly had
 
For the last two years I've seen White-letter Hairstreaks but up until today I haven't seen any at Cranford Park this season
 
Stand by for an overload of butterfly photos
 
Large White

Large White

Large White
 
Red Admiral

Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood
 
Comma
 
Small Skipper

Small Skipper

Essex Skipper

Essex Skipper

Essex Skipper
 
Small Copper

Small Copper

tatty Small Copper

Small Coppers

Small Coppers

Small Coppers
 
Holly Blue

Holly Blue

Common Blue - male

Common Blue - male

Brown Argus

Common Blue

Brown Argus - male

Brown Argus - male

Common Blue - male

Common Blue - male
 
Gatekeeper - female

Gatekeeper

Gatekeeper - male
 An added bonus was a solo sighting of a Six-spot Burnet
 
 
Before the heat got too much there was quite a bit of hover activity - my four below have had ids confirmed by Roger Morris and Graham Watkeys
 
These images just goes to show how varied the hoverfly species are

Volucella pellucens

Myathropa florea

Eristalis pertinax

Sphaerophoria scripta
 Another added critter bonus was this beautiful female Flower Beetle
 
 
There's a new strip of meadow flowers just before the car park - now it is in full bloom it is attracting a wide variety of insects
 




 
I didn't expect to see much in the way of birds today - most will be going through their moult or busy bringing up second broods
 
I heard the Kingfisher by the river calling twice but didn't spot it
 
Despite loitering by the oaks for a while I neither heard nor saw any Little Owls
 
There are still at least one pair of Skylarks nesting by the cattle enclosure
 
But the biggest surprise for me is that there are no signs of any juvenile Kestrels yet - In 2016 and 2017 I saw juveniles in the second week of July but not this year - I did catch a brief glimpse of the adult male today but that was all - hopefully they are just a little late this year and I'll have another recee next week