Friday 8 August 2014

Week 29: Watch Out, Frogs About!

It is now peak season for Clouded Yellow (Colias croceus) and Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) migrant butterflies and they could turn up anywhere. I spent a morning at the Brickworks searching. If nothing else, I hoped I might come across a partial second brood of Dingy Skippers or my first Hawk-moth species but I struck out on all counts, and, instead, as I walked the shaded path back towards the Buddleja, I narrowly avoided the utter horror of standing on a substantial soft-bodied creature. A glistening, vital Common Frog (Rana temporaria). Unfortunately, it didn’t unleash its long, sticky tongue to catch any insects whilst I was watching but it did hang around for some photographs.

At both Dellfield and the Brickworks, there are good numbers of Common Blue butterflies (female, below, left) and each site had at least one fresh Small Copper butterfly (below, right). Other flutterers included Meadow Browns, Speckled Woods, Gatekeepers, Small Skippers, one or two Small Tortoiseshells; Southern Hawker and Emperor dragonflies; and a couple of very worn five-spot Burnet moth species.


Every pair of socks I own and quite possibly my walking shoes as well is in danger of hot-housing the development of miniature wild flower and grasses meadows. No matter how carefully I tread, or the number of times I stop to empty my shoes, I always come home from Box Moor outings with shoes and socks full of seeds from the meadows and moors. I don’t think that’s quite the intended outcome but short of wearing wellies all summer (and cooking my feet) it's unavoidable.

Out on Bovingdon Reach this week, during another inadvertent seed collecting mission, a juvenile Green Woodpecker was digging for ants. A small group of House Martins were catching insects over the meadow and back at Dellfield, a juvenile Great spotted Woodpecker stayed still long enough for me to grab a distant shot. It's great to see both woodpecker species have bred successfully this year. Earlier in the week, I’d caught a female Green Woodpecker perched on a fence post at the pond on Preston Hill. The very short video clip below is a little shaky as the camera was resting on the fence railings (no tripod to hand).


Finally, this week's Oak photograph…


Martin Parr said...

Another great post Lucy!
Been at the lodge almost all week so still not got back to the brickworks.

Lucy @ A Natural Interlude said...

Thanks Martin. I hope the ML busy-ness has been enjoyable - definitely worth getting things done whilst the weather has been good.