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.

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