With a bit more time on our hands we were able to join CR at the local park mid-week for a butterfly hunt and arriving there we found former colleague WM already searching for the White Letter Hairstreaks.
By eck it was hot and humid down in the 'Butterfly Zone', the rough un-managed bit of the park. Unfortunately with the recent hot spell all but a tiny few of the Bramble flowers have been pollinated already and are turning in to tasty Blackberries. This along with the total lack of Thistles this season meant there was no nectar to tempt the Hairstreaks down from their favourite tree top so we have no pics of them for you, They did emerge very early this year, looking back through our Flickr site we tend to see them on Bramble and Thistle flowers about now or even later!
Although our quarry wasn't for showing itself other than fluttering around the uppermost branches of their favourite tree we did find plenty of other insects to point the camera at.
|Field Grahopper - or is it Common Green Grasshopper?|
|It seems to have hairs on the underside which would make it Field but we're not totally sure|
|Gatekeeper and common Wasp|
|The same Gatekeeper|
|Large Skipper - a male due to the scent lines on the wing|
|Leptopterna dolabrata - female|
|Leptopterna dolabrata - male|
|Small Skipper - female - - no scent lines on the upper wings|
|Definitely a female - she started laying eggs on the nearby grass stems|
|And then went for another refuel|
|Common Red Soldier Beetle - not sure hat the white stuff on it's face is|
If the White Letter Hairstreaks are the animal speciality of the site then Ploughman's Spikenard must be the plant speciality. This year we can only find a handful of specimens but typically there's a dozen or more. Somehow this site was omitted from the huge and authoritative Flora of North Lancashire.
Our final tally was 13 species of butterflies, including Small Tortoiseshell, shich CR didn't see and Small Copper which WM had seen before we arrived. With a bit of luck we could have added Common Blue, Peacock and Green Veined White but were perhaps just between broods wit hthem on the cusp of emerging.
An Emperor dragonfly was good to see there too.Pottering around in the garden later that afternoon we were lucky enough to be visited by a Comma, a species seen at the Rock Gardens but not keeping still enough to be photographed - well we made amends!
Yellowhammer that was singing from the hedgerows almost all day every day!
A wander out along the new seawall at Rossall with GB the other afternoon gave us distant, but close for here, views of Manx Shearwaters....Stop Press...as we type this rubbish there's a House Sparrow calling in the garden - our 1st of the year!!!!!
And relax...and back to the Manx Sheawaters...
We've been doing a lot of moth trapping in the garden and trapping not a lot of moths but we've had some nice ones and some NFGs (New For the Garden) so hopefully we'll let you know all about those in the net couple of days.
Where to next? This coming Thursday we're joining the Wildlife Trust's Living Seas NW team again for the monthly sea watch at Rossall Coastguard tower, Bottlenose Dolphins were filmed off the prom at Cleveleys yesterday evening) so finger (and everything else crossed) for a good result on the watch. And then we're out with CR again perhaps to the private reserve on the fringe of Lakeland.
In the meantime let us know who's been fluttering round the tree tops in your outback