Sunday, 31 July 2011

Hissing Frog and flyover Crossbills

Had a walk over the fell, particularly around Daisy Hill  this morning but things were quiet. It was rather dull for butterflies but a few species were on the wing in small numbers, particularly Small Heath, Meadow Brown and Small White. The best were single Small Copper and Red Admiral. A single Common Darter was also present but I managed to see a Common Hawker on my way back, just before you enter the Felledge wood. It checked me out several times before flitting off again over the Heather. The latter at the moment is at its peak with masses of purple.

Soldier Beetles - Rhagonycha fulva - 1000s of them

Nearly every umbel of Hogweed had one or more Soldier Beetle on them, there must have been thousands on the site. The first photo is unusual as its rare to find them singly, often there are mating pairs, hence the old country name of 'Bonking Beetle'. They feed on small, soft-bodied insects that some to feed on the flowers.

There were lots of young birds around with Meadow Pipit and both Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff having what looks like a very good breeding season. 30 Swallow and a few House Martin were feeding low over the fields and as I watched them, the birds of the day flew over in the form of a group of 4 Common Crossbill, my second record of the year for this species.
A few more plants were added, eight species in all were new for the year, though I know I have seen a couple earlier but forgot to count them.

Galeopsis tetrahit (Common Hemp-nettle)
Angelica sylvestris (Wild Angelica)
Euphorbia helioscopia (Sun Spurge)
Festuca ovina (Sheep's-fescue)
Lotus pedunculatus (Greater Bird's-foot-trefoil)
Odontites vernus (Red Bartsia)

Teucrium scorodonia (Wood Sage)

Euphrasia nemorosa  (Common Eyebright)

Common Hemp-nettle

I can't remember ever seeing so much Red Bartsia as there is at the moment at Daisy Hill, there's masses of it. This species is a parasite on grasses and seems to be doing an excellent job of keeping the grasses under  control.

Red Bartsia
 There were also masses of that common Hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus and walking back through South Burn Wood I added another hoverfly for the year Leuconza glauca.


Leuconza glauca

Episyrphus balteatus

Eristalis tenax

As I walked through I heard a strange sound coming from a clump of vegetation. The noise was quiet hiss, a bit like a short release of air from a tyre. It took a while to locate what was in there and it was a smallish Common Frog. I don't recall hearing that sort of noise from one before.

The 'hissing' Common Frog

My OFFH lists  for the year are

Flowering plants - 322
Birds - 104
Moths - 203
Butterflies - 20
Dragonflies - 8
Hoverflies - 14
Mammals - 10 
Bumblebees - 6

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