Friday, 26 June 2015

Moth Trapping at the Brickworks

Ben Sale and the Trust mothing team were up into the small hours on Wednesday night, trapping at the Brickworks. For the full report and a selection of great photos, see Ben's blog HERE.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Lesser Whitethroat Calls In

Catch up with some of this week's goings-on at the Brickworks, including a singing male Lesser Whitethroat and a Bee Orchid find, HERE.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Migrants, Fledglings & Bee Orchid Tally

This week, I was keen to do a proper butterfly count and see if any migrant butterflies or moths had turned up. I was particularly looking for Silver-Y (Autographa gamma) but didn’t have any luck there.

Wednesday (17/06/2015)

I predominantly tackled Bovingdon Reach meadow, although I did skirt round the west side of Dellfield and go through Hay Wood and up into Ramacre Wood. The butterflies and moths were as follows:

Dellfield meadow (TL029057)
3 Small Tortoiseshell
4 Meadow Brown
4 Common Blue
4 Yellow Shell
1 Burnet Companion
1 Large Skipper
1 Celypha lacunana

Yellow Shell (Camptogramma bilineata), a very variable moth. This one had the much darker band.

Hay Wood (TL030056)
3 Yellow-barred Longhorn (1 female, 2 male, different locations within grid ref)

Bovingdon Reach meadow (TL028052 & surrounding area)
12 Meadow Brown
6 Common Blue
2 Yellow Shell
11 Burnet Companion
1 Garden Grass-veneer

Ramacre Wood (TL024049)
24 Yellow-barred Longhorn (an all male gathering!)

Yellow-barred Longhorn (Nemophora degeerella), female.
The relatively short antennae suggest this is a female - the only one I found - the rest were all males!

In Hay Wood, close to the pond, there was a bundle of 6 noisy, freshly fledged Wrens. In the pond, I did spot 2 Newts that David K had found the previous day.

Juvenile Wren. 1 of at least 6, under rather a dark Hay Wood canopy. 

Thursday (18/06/2015)

I walked the Brickworks and spent some time in the NE corner of Bovingdon Reach, counting the Bee Orchids. The tallies were as follows:

Bovingdon Brickworks (TL008027 & surrounding area)
4 Speckled Wood
16 Meadow Brown
1 Small Tortoiseshell
2 Yellow-barred Longhorn (males)
7 Common Blue
1 Dingy Skipper
1 Marbled White (first of the year)
1 Painted Lady (Migrant. First of the year)
1 Large White
1 Yellow Shell
1 Hummingbird Hawk-moth (first I've seen at the site)

Also, at least 6, possibly up to 8 chirpy, newly fledged Nuthatches in the wooded area, grid ref: TL00800269.

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Bovingdon Brickworks

Bovingdon Reach meadow (concentrating on a small area, where the Bee Orchids are thriving, TL030053)
1 Painted Lady (Migrant. First, as far as I know, for the site)
1 Brown Argus (first for the site)
3 Small Tortoiseshell
6 Common Blue
6 Meadow Brown
1 Burnet Companion
1 Yellow Shell
1 Rush Veneer (Nomophila noctuella) (Migrant)

Rush Veneer (Nomophila noctuella), a very worn, faded specimen.

Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera) count was at least 87 spikes. I will have missed a good few more, so, numbers aren’t too far down on last year.

The Brown Argus (Aricia agestis) was a real surprise and the first I’ve seen at the Westbrook Hay meadows. I have noticed a lot of Cut-leaved Cranesbill growing around Dellfield meadow and I’m sure it’ll be on Bovingdon Reach as well. The area is just right for Brown Argus so I can’t see any reason why this region can’t become well populated in the future.

Brown Argus, Bovingdon Reach, photographed by © Jason R Chalk whilst
I checked the underside of the butterfly to ensure it wasn't a female Common Blue. It wasn't!

Overall, Common Blue numbers seem low this year, so far.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Willow Warblers Mixing it Up!

There have been at least 2 mixed singing Willow Warblers on Box Moor Trust land this Spring. For more details, head on over to the Brickworks blog, HERE.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Mid June lepidoptera at Roughdown & Westbrook Hay Bee Orchids

For the Roughdown update, head on over to the Roughdown blog, HERE.

At Westbrook Hay, in the NE region of Bovingdon Reach meadow, the beautiful Bee Orchids (Ophrys apifera) have returned. There are good numbers again this year, at least 50+ although it could be double that as I've really not done a thorough count.

Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera)

There were also a few spikes of what I think is Common Broomrape (Orobanche minor), a parasitic plant, probably feeding off the nearby Clover. One of the Bee Orchids is just within frame (on the left).

Common Broomrape (Orobanche minor)

Butterflies and moths of note in the NE region of Bovindgon Reach:

8 Meadow Brown
12 Common Blue
3 Yellow Shell
2 Burnet Companion
1 Large White

On the river Bulbourne yesterday, by Bulbourne Meadow, Damselflies included a handful of Common Blue (Enallagma cyathigerum), 3 Blue-tailed (Ischnura elegans) and a female Red-eyed (Erythromma najas).

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Moth Trapping at Roughdown

Ben Sale and the Box Moor Trust mothing team were again trapping at Roughdown Common last night. I joined them for the first half and the evening seemed to go very well. Overall, the team recorded 105 species! For the full story, including photos, see Ben's expert write-up HERE.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Dellfield: First Small Blue & Grass Rivulets

Butterfly Transect Survey results for 2014 reveal that 78 Small Blues were recorded at Chiswell Green’s Butterfly World, 1 at Heartwood Forest, near St Albans, and 3 near Pirton. That was it for Hertfordshire! The Small Blue is all but absent from the majority of the County. It’s not difficult to imagine then my shock when I found one fluttering along the edge of Dellfield meadow at Westbrook Hay yesterday! I was very glad David K was with me as a corroborating witness and to reassure me that I wasn’t hallucinating. It was the first Small Blue either of us had seen in Hertfordshire and also the 30th species of butterfly recorded on Trust land.

Small Blue
Grass Rivulet

Along with the Small Blue, we also caught up with 2 Grass Rivulet (Perizoma albulata) moths, a County rarity, found at the weekend by Roger Prue. And, a Small Yellow Underwing (Panemeria tenebrata) moth, which turned out to be a female ovipositing on Common Mouse-ear. A quick check at the NE end of Bovingdon Reach meadow was rewarded with seeing the first flowers on the returning Bee Orchids (Ophrys apifera). All in all, a fantastic morning!