Tuesday, 10 March 2015
A most agreeable afternoon
I can thank two fellow naturalists for inspiring me to get out this afternoon, for both tweeted or blogged about their own successes which, in turn, led to my own. Firstly, Graeme Lyons posted about his exploits whilst beating some Juniper in Sussex which had provided him with Juniper Shieldbug. I have a good population of this tree at nearby Walton Downs, so I took myself off this afternoon with a tray and beating stick - and within ten minutes had seen at least half a dozen (above). What a smart insect. That marking on the corium reminds me of a carved antique chair arm.
Shortly after this success I was watching two Red Kites lazily circling over the valley between here and Headley Village, but they were just the ornithological starters... local birder Ian Jones had found a Barn Owl on Epsom Downs that he had seen hunting in the same spot on two consecutive evenings. Would it put on a show for a third? Thankfully it did, and I was treated to close views as it quartered along a grassy bank alongside the section of racecourse where they start the world-famous Derby. It even perched in the open for me. Did I take my bridge camera? The lack of an image answers that question. Red Kite and Barn Owl are the 73rd and 74th species for my 2015 patch challenge, (74% of target).
I'm hoping that there's a leaf mining expert out there. This poor image is of a Hart's-tongue leaf with mines that I am tentatively suggesting might be made by a moth - either Psychoides verhuella or Psychoides filicivora. Both have been recorded in Surrey.