Monday, 20 June 2011
It keeps getting better!
Another bright and very warm day meant another day looking for insects with Ash and Aaron. We headed to the mere where we hoped the meadows around the golf course would provide plenty of day flying moths, and the ponds around Staining Nook might hold several dragonfly species. First stop however was to visit a patch of Bee Orchids, a species that I have always wanted to see, and I wasn't disappointed with these beautiful little plants; the flowers do look surprisingly like bees and we counted 26 plants in total. Also in this area were the first of 11 species of butterfly that we saw during the day, with 1 particularly tame Common Blue allowing a good photo opportunity close to the path. Nearby Ash found one of our target species, a Shaded Broad Bar moth along with several other species such as Straw Dot, Narrow Bordered Five Spot Burnet and a couple of new for me micros. More butterflies were also found on the walk round the edge of the course including plenty of Small Skippers, some of which sat still allowing for close views as you can see below.However it wasn't till we reached Staining Nook that the highlight of the day showed up. Ash stopped to try and catch another micro moth (Common White Wave) and whilst he was doing that Aaron spotted a medium sized insect hovering around a patch of plants just next to the path. He pointed it out to me and at first we both thought it must be a dragonfly, however as it came slower we realised that it was actually a Hummingbird Hawkmoth! It continued to come closer and closer to us until at one point it was just a foot or so from us giving us the chance to see all the features of this exotic looking insect. I managed one shot of it before it started to move away from us and eventually out of view, and when we looked at the shot afterwards we realised it was laying an egg on the plant in the shot. We lines up the photo where I was stood and found the stem that it had laid the egg on, and sure enough there was a single green egg, so hopefully later on in the year we may have several more flying around the area.