A return visit to Old Lodge NR on the Ashdown Forest in East Sussex produced 14 Common Redstarts (7 males, 4 females and 3 juveniles), 7 Stonechats (3 pairs and one juvenile), one Raven, a Common Buzzard, a Woodlark, 4 Tree Pipits, 2 Nuthatches, a Treecreeper, 3 Common Whitethroats, a Mistle Thrush, several Chiffchaffs, Coal Tits and Goldcrests. Fourteen Swallows were overhead including several young birds.
Spotted Flycatchers still elude us this year at Old Lodge NR. There have been several reports that they are present but we have failed, as yet, to find them.
There were lots of Heath Spotted Orchids on the valley slope.
Heath Spotted Orchid Dactylorhiza maculata
Butterflies were represented by several Large Skippers, Large Whites, Small Heaths and Meadow Browns, a Red Admiral, a Ringlet and a Speckled Wood. One small blue butterfly shot past me and may well have been my target species for the day – a Silver-studded Blue – but I will never know for certain.
Small Heath Coenonympha pamphilus
Moths seen were mainly grass moths, Common Grass Veneers seeming the most abundant, with a few Inlaid Grass Veneers. Also a Silver Y and a Brown Silver-line.
Inlaid Grass Veneer Crambus pascuella
Silver Y Autographa gamma
Brown Silver-line Petrophora chlorosata
Dragonflies and damselflies were surprisingly few but a couple of Emperors were at the ponds and, best of all, two BRILLIANT EMERALDS were chasing each other at Keeches Brook, only settling where I couldn’t photograph them, hence the out-of-focus flight shot.
Brilliant Emerald Somatochlora metallica
Emperor Anax imperator
We could only find Common Blue and Large Red Damselflies, which was disappointing.
Sue found this striking beetle on a tree stump. It was at least an inch long and I managed a blurry shot as Sue recoiled in horror.
Four-banded Longhorn Beetle Leptura quadrifasciata
I also found this 'butterfly' resting high up on the trunk of a conifer.
I needed to ID it as it had to be something rare, so I moved further round the tree only to find that the butterfly had turned into a piece of bark! Obviously I was barking up the wrong tree with my ID (I wish I hadn't just written that but I'll leave it in).
I should have gone to Specsavers!
We will need to return again soon in the hope of finding Black Darter and Golden-ringed Dragonflies which occur on the Ashdown Forest.
I am far from being a supersticious person and neither do I gamble but, after finding this amongst the usual heather, I might just be tempted to buy a lottery ticket this week!
Graham & Sue