Saturday, 2 July 2011


I thought i'd ended June with 62 species of birds seen at New Hythe but in actual fact it was 63, because I forgot to add on the pair of Green Sandpipers that I saw flying over Brooklands lake on thursday. I paid a brief visit this morning to get the July list off the ground, but it didn't get very far with just 27 species seen. Things can only get better.
With the avian world somewhat in the doldrums, i've once again turned to some of the other New Hythe inhabitants. I find them endlessly fascinating, here are just a few seen over the last couple of days.

Considering the amount of Cinnabar moth caterpillars i've seen on Yellow Ragwort recently, I haven't seen many of the actual moths. The one above eventually settled for a few seconds but insisted on remaining upside down.

The fearsome fly pictured above is a Scorpion fly, female I think. The male has an upwardly curled tail, hence the name. Unlike the real Scorpion, these are entirely harmless, their small teeth are located at the end of their strange elongated beak. During mating the males sometimes allow the females to feed on their saliva, whatever turns you on as they say.

There are a lot of moths about right now, they fly up from their hiding places in the undergrowth and sometimes settle back in partial view like the one above did. It's a Clouded Border I think and is usually a night flier, a nice looking moth who probably cursed me for interrupting it's rest.

I'm pretty sure that the creature above is one of the Ichneumons, but i'm blowed if I can find out which one. It's similar to Ichneumon suspiciosus but lacks the pale segments on the antennae.

These Slow worms were under a piece of refugia, I think there are seven of them. The picture shows just how diverse the colouring and markings can be. They don't mind a bit of company do they.

There still don't seem to be great numbers of dragons at New Hythe yet. This pair are Black-tailed Skimmers and probably are in the majority here at the moment along with Emperors, the odd Four Spotted Chaser and one or two Common Darter appearing. The last week or so has seen the emergence of Brown Hawkers to add further interest. I haven't managed to get a shot of one yet but i've no doubt I will sooner or later.

Where would we be without butterflies at this time of the year? Although there aren't a huge number of species some are quite tricky to identify. I'm going to call the one pictured above a Brown Argus, the first one i've seen for a while, second brood maybe?

Probably the most prolific species at New Hythe at the moment is the Ringlet, I don't remember seeing anything like the present numbers last year. They are single brooders so make the most of them, they'll probably disappear in August.

Here's another trap for the unwary, or like me uneducated. Small Skipper immediately and most obviously springs to mind. But it looks a bit straw coloured on it's underside, and is that a bit of black I can see under the tip of the antenna, could it be an Essex Skipper? I'll leave it to you, i've got a headache.

Finally, another Common Lizard. I think they give birth in July, could this be a pregnant female or is it just flattening it's body to expose as much as possible to the warm sun? Common Lizards are sometimes referred to as viviparous, bearing live young, this is because the egg sacs which contain the young Lizards break during birth or very soon afterwards.

There's no doubting this butterfly of course, it's a Small Tortoiseshell. The ones I saw today all looked pretty fresh so again I think this may be from a second brood.


Warren Baker said...

Interesting set of creatures Phil :-) I have a skipper on my blog post today, like you I cant decide whether its an Essex or Small.

Return Migration starts this month, so keep the visits up, watch out for anything!!

Greenie said...

Phil ,
Always hard to get 'wings open' Cinnabar moth , you did well .
I'd still go for I. suspiciosus .
Pretty sure your Brown Argus would be 2nd. brood , the Northern species has just one .
Always hard the Small / Essex Skipper ID in a photo , bit easier on the ground , but on balance I would say Small for that one .
Sm Tort also 2nd brood , these will mate and die , their offspring will over-winter as adults .

ShySongbird said...

A nice selection of creatures and photos Phil.

You are right, there are a lot of moths about, I spend an awful lot of time putting them out of the house at the moment but suspect the silly things just pop down the road into someone else's house!

Glad you are still keeping me supplied with Lizards :)

chris said...

Well looks like we are facing the same poor bird period, except that over here almsot none of them bred this year!!! That has been a terrific year... And unfortunately, I do not have butterflies or slow worm to keep the camera busy ;-) Beautiful collection Phil.

Kieron said...

What a find of Slow Worms! I bet they came as a shock when you lifted it.

Ken. said...

Hi Phil.
Nice photo of the Cinnabar Moth, always nice to see, and what a inpressive collection of Slow Worms, and variety od colours,I think your right with 7.