Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Noar Hill, Revisited - July 2014

Around this time last year I visited the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trusts Noar Hill Nature Reserve in order to carry out a grasshopper survey. The visit was a success as we recorded the local Rufous Grasshopper, along with a variety of other species. The Trust is looking to set up a standardised monitoring programme for the species, so when I was asked to assist I jumped at the chance. We visited the site on 22nd July with the main purpose to survey for grasshoppers, and test the survey methodology that had been designed, but whilst I was there I took the opportunity to catch up with a few other species. 

As I have covered grasshoppers before I didn't take any photos, but during the survey we recorded Rufous, Common Green, Field, Stripe-winged and Meadow Grasshopper and Speckled, Dark and Roesel's Bush Crickets. Noar Hill is well know for its orchids too and there was plenty of evidence of them, but the only species in flower was the Pyramidal Orchid

Pyramidal Orchid Anacamptis pyramidalis

As would be expected at this time of year, butterflies were everywhere and making use of the abundance of nectar available. Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Gatekeeper and Red Admiral were the most numerous, the latter species making the most of the flowering Hemp Agrimony.

Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta

Silver-washed Fritillary and Marbled White seemed to be just hanging on, with some very tatty individuals present, whereas the Brimstone's and Green-veined White's were immaculate and clearly evidence of a recent emergence.

Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni
Green-veined White Pieris napi

We also recorded Large and Small Skippers, but the only species of Blue recorded was Common Blue. This time last year their had been an abundance of Chalkhill Blues at the site, but we may have been a bit early this year.

Small Skipper Thymelicus sylvestris infected with the red mite Trombidium breei

Whilst photographing a Small Skipper and Common Blue I noticed that they were infected with a small red mite. I did a bit of research and it appears that this mite is Trombidium breei, which usually attaches itself to the legs or thorax of its host. Apparently there are no detectable negative impacts on the host butterfly, and the mites transfer from host to host via flower heads. For more information on butterfly parasites check out the following link enemies of butterflies.

Common Blue infected with Trombidium breei
Female Common Blue

Another species recorded was the Small Heath, but only in small numbers. In total we recorded 13 species of butterfly during our visit.

Small Heath Coenonympha pamphilus

Despite the orchids not being in flower there were plenty of other plant species on show, including bellflower, yellow-wort, Greater Knapweed and Harebell.

Greater Knapweed Centaurea scabiosa
Harebell Campanula rotundifolia

The Small Scabious flowers were proving very popular with the Six-spot Burnet moths, which were the most numerous moth species we recorded.

Six-spotted Burnet Zygaena filipendulae stephensi on Small Scabious

No comments:

Post a comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...