Thursday, 30 June 2016

New Forest ~ 30 June

A day spent in the New Forest with 2 primary targets: Bog Orchid & pumilio. The former was out in reasonable numbers at the usual site near Stoney Cross.

A trip to Mill Lawn Brook was unproductive with high water levels eliminating any chance of pumilio and just one mercuriale was found. Onto Latchmore Brook where pumilio were out in force with approximately 150 on the two usual flushes 1mile or so east of the main car park. These included ~8 aurantiaca. Just 6 mercuriale were found - it appears to have been a very poor year for this species.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Thursley Common & Hankley Common ~ 19 June, 20 June & 26 June

2 visits to new areas of Thursley Common away from the popular Moat Car Park. Effort was concentrated towards the southern end, where mosaic-style management seems to be a lot more prominent and consequently the area is a lot more biodiverse.

Dartford Warbler, Woodlark, Tree Pipit & Redstart are all in good numbers, the latter appearing to have had a particularly good year.

Silver-studded Blues are thinly distributed with the exception of one dense population on the western edge. A ~50m transect yielded 48. Numbers of Bombus lucorum across the site are very impressive along with smaller numbers of hypnorum & terrestris.

Bombus lucorum (M)

Silver-studded Blue

Ammophila wasps were abundant and consequently one lone Mottled Bee-fly (Thyridanthrax fenestratus) was found on my latter visit.

Mottled Bee-fly ~ Thyridanthrax fenestratus

A trip to Hankley Common Golf Course on the 20th June was notable for 1 Mottled Bee-fly but most impressively for Textrix denticulata, seemingly a first for Surrey and a very rare sighting in the SE of England.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Warren Heath/Garden ~ 17 June

First trip of the year was a success with a teneral metallica (my earliest ever) among extremely good numbers of patrolling Downy Emeralds (Cordulia aenea). Keeled Skimmer numbers are building but are some way off their peak. Small-red numbers were noticeably lower than at other sites - the site certainly seems to have deteriorated over the past few years.

A nice surprise upon return to the garden with a Hylaeus confufus nesting in some holes on a concrete fence post (photographed here with a nectar/pollen mix used to fill the nest).

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

East Blean Woods ~ 15 June

A trip to East Blean Woods in search of Heath Fritillaries  parking here and exploring the clearings nearby. Following a heavy rain shower, the humidity was high which brought out a dozen or so  fritillaries which favoured vegetation >1m in length. During periods of sunny weather their flight was strong and flicking,  but immediately became inactive and approachable during periods of cloud.

The only other butterflies seen at the site were 1 Red Admiral, 2 Holly Blue & 1 Speckled Wood.

Heath Fritillary ~ Melitaea athalia 
Heath Fritillary ~ Melitaea athalia
2 Green-eyed (Norfolk) Hawker were a nice surprise, presumably dispersing from nearby Westbere Marshes, and good numbers of hoverflies were making use of the coppiced clearings, including several of the impressive Volucella inflata.

Volucella inflata 
Green-eyed Hawker - Aeshna isoceles

A brief trip to Westbere Marshes on the way home found another couple of Green-eyed Hawker and this female Hairy Dragonfly feeding on a bee. 


Sunday, 5 June 2016

Holt CP ~ 6 June

A quick visit to Holt CP where the highlight was a single Broad-bordered Bee Hawk-moth. A rather tatty Green Hairstreak was also a nice find on the ride behind the car park, along with a couple of Hairy Dragonflies & Holly Blues.

A single, rather sorrowful-looking Bird's Nest Orchid was found along with a couple of Common Twayblade.

Bird's Nest Orchid

Hairy Dragonfly (M)

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Carlton Marshes ~ 4 June

My first visit to this rather special reserve in the south-eastern corner of the broads. I accessed the southern section via public transport (train to Oulton Broad) here. The northern section would certainly be worthy of a visit too.
Following the track north, a smaller path to the left running alongside a dyke looked promising. As the clouds parted and the temperature began to rise at least 6 Fen Raft Spider (Dolomedes plantarius) began to hunt (primarily ovipositing Variable Damselflies with a very poor success rate).

In terms of Odonata, the site was spectacular, with densities I have only ever seen in the acidic bogs of the New Forest. Variable Damselflies were the most numerous with only small numbers of Azure. Interestingly this population was seemingly very homogenous, with all males observed (200+) looking like classic 'fieldguide' individuals. 

Coenagrion pulchellum

A small number of Scarce Chasers were by the dyke first thing, but as Hairy Dragonfly numbers began to build, they soon dispersed away from the water. 

Brachytron pratense

I had predicted that if the weather forecast was correct, Norfolk Hawkers could begin to emerge and indeed at just after 1 p.m, I found 2 very fresh-looking tenerals. 

Anaciaeshna isosceles