Sunday, 27 May 2018

Of Holly Blue Butterflies and Ginger-Bonce Bees

Since mid-2017 we have been working in the Garden (at Home) with a view to attracting Bees, Butterflies, Hoverflies &c. We have introduced a number of new Plants including Wild Flowers such as Bird's-Foot Trefoil and Kidney Vetch.

There is a long way to go but during the past month or so it has been almost impossible not to see Holly Blue Butterflies viz.

We also regularly see Speckled Wood Butterflies and hopefully later in the year other Butterflies such as Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns will make regular appearances.

We know very little about Bees &c. but today we noticed a Ginger-Bonce Bee visiting the Kidney Vetch viz.

We understand our new Acquaintance to be a Brown-Banded Carder Bee. We understand that the Brown-Banded Carder Bee is the scarcest of the Ginger Carder Bees: but how scarce we don't know. Scarce or otherwise however, it is an attractive looking Bee.

Friday, 25 May 2018

We 'Lead' a 'Butterfly Walk' in Foots Cray Meadows!

A few Months ago we decided in our (self-appointed) Capacity as the Butterfly &c. Recorders for the London Borough of Bexley, to Arrange and 'Lead' a Series of local Butterfly Walks.

The First Walk, under the Umbrella of the Bexley Branch of the RSPB (for which Many Thanks), was on Foots Cray Meadows.

Lead? Us? Thankfully, apart from the Occasional Suggestion of which Direction to Follow, the Walk essentially ran itself.

To the Occasional Question of, 'What's This?', we found ourselves Listening in Wonder as we issued hopefully Confident Sounding Replies!

There were of course the ones (Moths) we had no idea about, including this Character:

which was subsequently Identified for us as a probable Light Emerald Moth.

Arranging the Walks seemed a Good Idea at the Time: not so much so on the Morning of the First Walk. Any vague hopes we had of the Walk being Abandoned, disappeared when the Early Morning Rain stopped at about 08.00 hours!

Wow: ten people turned up! Weirdly, almost all at the same time. But not as Scary as we had imagined: we had wondered if anyone would turn up! Thanks to everyone who did join us.

And much to our Surprise and Relief (bearing in Mind the Weather) some Butterflies and Moths were seen. Phew…

Allowing ourselves, as we always do, to be Guided by the 'Unseen Hand', we focused our attention on the area where we had seen a Small Heath Butterfly the previous Sunday. And Yippee, we were in Luck.

Butterfly and Moth Species Seen and Identified:

Burnet Companion
Common Blue viz.

Holly Blue
Mint Moth
Mother Shipton viz.

Small Copper viz.

Small Heath viz.

and Small White viz.

Afterwards: we trudged over to the Upper College Farm in search of Crosswort and Yellow Vetchling viz.

Twiggy Spurge on the Crayford Marshes and Surrounding area

After wandering beside the Upper Bedon Stream and across the Holly Hill Open Space * in search of Butterflies we had intended to go down to the Crossness Nature Reserve and Surrounding area but decided instead, to visit the Crayford Marshes and Surrounding area.

We walked up from Moat Lane following the Footpath towards to the Erith Yacht Club.

Whilst on the Footpath we noticed a Small Patch of Spurge: not really knowing the Spurges we didn't pay too much attention to it and a Brisk Wind foiled our half-hearted attempts to photograph it.

Subsequently and whilst approaching the Yacht Club, we dropped down below the Footpath where we were lucky enough to find a number of Butterfly Species including Brown Argus, Common Blue and Small Heath.

We also found another Patch of Spurge which we paid more attention to.

It was Identified for us as Twiggy Spurge viz.

Not knowing how Common or Otherwise it is, after checking on the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI) Map, we submitted the Sighting(s) to the Kent Botanical Recording Group and will be going back in the next few days to check on both the first mentioned Patch and the exact location(s).

* we will be 'leading' a Butterfly Walk on the Holly Hill Open Space during late-June!

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Out and About on the East Wickham Open Space

We went in search of Butterflies &c. and found some (the majority, apart from White Butterflies including Green-Veined White Butterflies seen drifting across the Open Spaces, in two small sheltered areas), namely Brown Argus, Common Blue, Green Hairstreak and Small Copper Butterflies viz.

We also saw Burnet Companion Moths and a Mint Moth.

We didn't see many flowering Plants: those seen included Bird's-Foot Trefoil, Common Mouse-Ear, Common Vetch, Cow Parsley (lots of it), Germander Speedwell, Red Clover and a small Patch of Bush Vetch viz.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

We wander around on the Erith Marshes aka the Crossness Nature Reserve and Surrounding area

A pleasant Sunny Day and lots to see (and hear such as Reed Warblers) viz.

And Chemical/Oil Tanker, Sundstraund, heading up the Thames towards Thunderer Jetty, Dagenham viz.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

We join a London Natural History Society (LNHS) Walk collecting Records in the Orpington area (LB of Bromley) for the London Flora Project

We joined a London Natural History Society (LNHS) Walk collecting Records in the Orpington area (LB of Bromley) for the London Flora Project.

Not unexpectedly, we were massively Out of our Depth: Plants were invariably referred to by their Latin Names which tended to leave us generally flummoxed.

We reckon on seeing 70% or so of the Birds proper Bird People (or in truth, almost Anyone really) see while out looking for Birds. But when it comes to Wild Flowers, we reckon the comparable figure is way below 50%!

Despite all of that however, we managed to enjoy ourselves and were able to further develop our understanding of the World of Wild Flower' Recording.

Nevertheless, and despite our considerable Limitations, our Solitary Walks are the ones we enjoy most. And, surely always will.

Plants seen (the majority on Roadside' Grass Verges) included:

Bird's-Foot Trefoil viz.

Buck's-Horn Plantain
Bush Vetch
Common Horsetail
Common Stork's-Bill viz.

Common Vetch viz.

Dove's-Foot Crane's-Bill (including Plants with white flowers) viz.

Germander Speedwell viz.

Ivy-Leaved Speedwell viz.

Little-Robin viz.

Musk Stork's-Bill viz.

Opium Poppy
Pineapple Weed viz.

Red Clover
Red Valerian (also the White Flowered Variety) viz.

Slender Speedwell
White Clover viz.

Wild Clary viz.

Winter Heliotrope
Wood Speedwell viz.

and Yellow Archangel