21 July, 2013

Too Hot To Pun...

Last couple of days it's dropped off a bit, but the humidity has risen to compensate. I'm not amused.

Right then, same old same old; work was hotter than the analogy of your choice, yay it's the weekend, time for a Bug Hunt.

With the wind actually blowing and it still being slightly early for the later stuff, I decided against any major expeditions and instead went to Stover, primarily to see if any hawker spp. were on the wing yet. Southern had been reported once, so it seemed a good bet.

Needless to say, plan did not survive contact with reality, [let alone the enemy]. There were lots of odonata about, oh yes. Azure and Common Blue Damselflies everywhere, with large Red and Blue-tailed frequent, and the first Emerald out. Dragons were dominated by Four-spotted Chasers - easily 20 if not 30 males! A couple of Keeled Skimmers, 3 or more Emperors, and lone Broad-bodied Chaser and Black-tailed Skimmer were the rest around those water bodies not dried up. Drat?

The day was saved by the lepidoptera, with surprise after surprise; the best being the Large Skipper, which held a brambly bush by the canal bridge against all comers - including a cracking Silver-washed Fritillary! Twice! I really hope a shot of him comes out, this butterfly deserves publicity [[So why put him on this blog, then?? ;) ]]. I really wasn't expecting to see either there - this is right by the lake, after all - but there is a lot of rough wet grass there, and the trees do come right to the water, so really I should.

EDIT: Well, not exactly in focus, but here he is;

On the lake, the juvenile GC Grebes are still going, though two of them seem to have suffered head injuries and now think they are Mallards. The sight of grebes coming in for bread seems wrong... [Though I suppose it does help to illustrate that birds will take advantage of any easy food source, no matter what they're 'supposed' to eat ;) ] Also on the avian front, juvenile phylloscs and tits were about in pleasing numbers, a dozen House Martins and a Swift hawked over the lake, and a small party of Crossbills flew over [no great big wingbars were seen.. :( ]

Wandering away from the water, a smart [and presumably second brood] Holly Blue was only a prelude to a very welcome surprise; under the pylons I picked up a flitter of wings in a small but very bushy Oak.. Holy Shit - Purple Hairstreak! It perched on a low enough branch to photo, so maybe you'll get a bit of it here;

EDIT: Or not. Bloody wind blew the leaf it was on up - you can just about make out the edge of one wing, with purple sheen, but it's an article of faith, not a proper photo... Bugger.

Unfortunately, having taken the first quick shot, when I repositioned to get a good one, a big gust of wind sent the branch swaying and the butterfly flying.. far far away.. Bugger.

Finally, another break; not 20 yards further along I met another dragonfly - my first Common Hawker of the year. :)

Today I gave the Patch an overdue bashing. Despite a fresh breeze [to say the least] it still managed to be 'orribly hot in places. I covered a lot of ground with not much hope, so not much to be dashed. Best bird? Bullfinch. Best butterfly? Another smart Holly Blue. Much else? Nope. Plenty of juvenile Herrings, but no YLGs here yet.

Speaking of here yet - just had the first rumble of thunder!

And finally. The answer to the 'Spot the Dragonfly' competition [What do you mean, 'What Spot the Dragonfly competition??' The one from a few posts back.]

Due to the overwhelming response, I'll extend the contest to a 'Name that Dragon'. The dragonfly was hiding in the picture of the Dreaded Bystock Crocodile, here it is in close up;

Eyeing up the croc...

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