Sunday, 19 June 2011

A cracking hour out on safari

The Safari opened the moth trap this morning but as we were getting the paraphinalia ready our Extreme Photographer spotted this unusual Hoverfly ressting on the giant plastic Blue Tit - ID anyone?

The trap only held three species, a micro that looked like a bit of bird droppings, 21 Heart & Darts - they are they only species around in numbers or really like the new UV light - and six Dark Arches, pictured below.

Then it was out not far away to see the mass of Bee Orchids that has appeared on the edge of a local golf course.

Really like Bee Orchids, they are just so exotic - can't get enough of them!

In the grass were some Burnet moth chrysalis, the very ones we couldn't find on our rough field yesterday.

Among the grass leaves was an imposter, a Grass Vetchling. Even better than the Bee Orchids - just look at that stunning cerise colour. The tendril grabbing it from he left is from a neighbouring Common Vetch.

A very badly beaten up female Common Blue was found resting in the shade and allowed very close approach, looks like she's been round the shrubbery a few times!

Close by a hint of movement in the grass gave us a lurking Shaded Broad Bar, looks much fresher than the butterfly.

A few minutes later we happened upon a piece of plywood lying on the ground - well we had to turn it over, didn't we.

A fair few Common Toads, all last years or the year before's, and two newts were underneath. A small pale young newt and this adult. But what is it?

Looking at that pinky unspotted throat it could well be a Palmate Newt, in which case it will be the first of this locally scarce species we've found round here.

Much easier to identify is this young Great Crested Newt, the third we've found this week...must be getting a bit of a knack for finding them.

Despite the rarity of the Great Crested Newt this Short Tailed Field Vole gave us more pleasure. They are really hard to get pics of, they are so quick.

We discovered this nest nearby and noticed it had a tiny baby within so we quickly replaced the cover and hoped mum came back soon.

Then it was on to the nature reserve where we found this Biting Stonecrop. It used to be more common but the open stony areas it likes are becoming well vegetated. We used to give tiny bits to visiting school kids to 'taste' as it soon delivers a peppery kick - hence the name...the kids thought they'd been poisoned!

A very enjoyable hour or so's walk out...and we totally ignored the birds for a change although did get a goo view of a Swallow trying to catch our first Meadow Brown of the year, the butterfly took last second evasive action to avoid the swooping beak.

Where to next? Back to the patches wonder what'll be about.

In the meantime let us know what's stealing the limelight from the orchids in your outback.


cliff said...

Nice Newts Dave!

I think your hover could be Merodon equestris/Narcissus fly.

Warren Baker said...

You had a good variety today Dave :-) much more like summer should be :-)

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Thanks Cliff - pretty sure yo've IDd him for me last year!!! The old memory ain't what it was.

A bit of summery sun later in the afternoon too Warren...and the temperature amost reached average for June!!! Well I never!!!

Anno Brandreth said...

Davo - check out your coastal sites with tufted vetch for Blacknecked Moth.
In Britain, this moth has only one generation, flying in June and July, but it is double-brooded on the continent.

Occupying woodland and marshy areas, it is locally common in the southern half of Britain, with only scattered occurrences further north.

The species overwinters as a larva, which feeds mainly on tufted vetch (Vicia cracca).

a brood is present on our Pickerings Pasture site at the moment - found by Paul who you met at the Quarry site.