Saturday, 2 July 2016

Butterflies etc

Spent this morning in bikers and horse field and a once round 100 acre. Despite the breeze there was still a lot of butterflies and insects around. 1 Small Copper, 6 Ringlet, 10 Meadow Brown, 30+ Essex and Small Skippers, Red Admiral, 2-3 Comma (been rare this year), 10+ Small Tortoiseshell, 4-5 Large White, 5+ Small White and good numbers of Marbled White (40+) . 

Lots of juvenile birds around.

In the afternoon, met up with Omar, a University of Plymouth, Environmental Science student (my old course, graduated in 1997) to have a look at invasive species on site. Had a look at the Himalayan Balsam and Goat's Rue. Saw Hobby and Cuckoo along the parkside and a load more butterflies. 

 Marbled White- about 40+ of these (an increasing local population) 
 Ringlet from above 
 Ringlet from below
 A rather sudden emergence of Essex and Small Skippers- not always easy to tell apart. The black tip to the underside of the antennae is the best feature but often I think I can see a faint black tip on some so not sure what that means? 
In addition to the physical differences Small Skippers lay their eggs within Yorkshire Fog grass and Essex Skipper avoid Yorkshire Fog and usually select either Cock-s-foot or Creeping Soft-grass. Small Skippers spend up to eight months as a caterpillar but Essex Skippers remain within the egg and only spend three months or so as a caterpillar. Both emerge as butterflies in June and July (only one flight season) in grasslands. 
 Great Pied Hoverfly Volucella pellucens  A few of these today
 Evening Primrose- quite a clump of this on bikers 
Common Grape Vine- a clump growing near Mitcham Common foot bridge- as far as I know this is the first time recorded on the site? 

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