Monday, 15 July 2013

A right old round-up

Small Ranunculus - if you haven't had one yet, you will soon.

After last week's success with Six-belted Clearwings I thought that I'd knock off a few more species. Armed with a virtual arsenal of lures, I set of last Saturday (in the company of Nick and Russell Gardener) to visit a number of sites that harboured the requisite clearwing food plants. The net result was not a bloody sniff! Had I not already been successful last weekend I would have doubted the veracity of the lures, but the same 'Six-belted' pheromone that was successful last Sunday drew a blank this weekend. Must be down to my placement, or the funny season, or the fact that where I went the clearwings don't.

Really pleased to find 12 flowering White Mullein plants along Chipstead Bottom valley. A check of Fame's Rough a little further along (for the umpteenth time this summer), once again drew a blank on both Ground Pine and Cut-leaved Germander. Both did well last year and the same site still looks good enough for them. Why are they absent? A Saturday afternoon visit to Headley Heath resulted in finding the Martagon Lily population in full flower, if a little shaded out.

My 'slow burn' approach to this may result in far fewer lifers but they do still tick along. The longhorn beetle Leptura quadrifasciata was a welcome addition on birch stumps at Headley.

Hot, muggy nights always means plenty in the MV trap. The garden has been interesting, but still refuses to provide that 'marquee' moth. The 4th Small Ranunculus and 5th Beautiful Hook-tip have been the stand-outs. I'm experiencing another burst of micro-enthusiasm which resulted in three new species for the garden list last night. All of them common and previously overlooked.

Last Saturday was a real 'kick up the backside' for me. As already mentioned, I spent Saturday in the company of Russell (who is in his mid-teens) and already has a UK bird list larger than mine. He has recently developed an interest in botany (along with his Dad) so I spent most of my time testing his identification skills. He got everything that I threw at him right, even the plain, boring ones! He now also runs an MV in their Wallington garden and already possesses a fine knowledge of moths, this after a very short period of time. It was him (not the doddery old duffers alongside) who picked up all the decent butterflies we saw and found the longhorn beetles. I felt like a blind fool in comparison. It made me feel old and feeble...

What a great weekend for the South African English cricket team who beat Australia in the first Ashes test by that traditional method of new technology. Special mention must be made of Chris Froome, the Kenyan British leader of the Tour de France who stormed up Mont Ventoux for a famous stage victory (where, incidently, I saw my first Rock Bunting and Citril Finch back in 1983). All this after a Scot Brit won Wimbledon and the Welsh British and Irish Lions beat the Wallabies. Makes you proud to be Danish German Norse British


Andrew Cunningham said...

I will gladly have a Small Ranunculus followed by a Large Innis & Gunn.

I am also fortunate to have just seen Leptura quadrifasciata. Smart beetle for sure.

Steve Gale said...

I had to Google 'Innis & Gunn' Andrew. Now I need to buy some and try it...

Andrew Cunningham said...

You need to try 'them' not 'it'.

There are three varieties I think and the nicest one is the rum cask version but all score highly.