What is Patton's Tiger?

I have been immersed in natural history since I was 18 and started work at the (then) Wildfowl Trust at Arundel. I met, worked and lived with some brilliant naturalists and a lifetime's obsession was born.
Birding was followed by mothing and the height of 'achievement' was obtained when a moth was given the above vernacular name in recognition of the fact that I trapped the first British record.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Adders and more Natterjacks!

Already a day behind! One of the reasons for doing this blog is that it is, in theory, easier than keeping a diary!
After a glimpse of a dragonfly at Woolmer Pond yesterday, an early start was made the Thursley Common in the hope of finding some more. A quick look at the moat produced nothing, so it was out along the boardwalk. Several Common Lizards were basking but by far the most exciting sighting was an Adder which proceeded to move along the boardwalk for a while before disappearing off into the vegetation.
A pair of Lapwings were displaying (marvellous sound) and Curlews could be heard in the distance.
Cotton Grass was coming into flower as were the Bog Bean plants. One Large Red Damselfly was seen resting on a dead rush.
The main bridleway was the wettest I've ever seen it. A few tiny orange Bog Beacon (Mitrula paludosa) fungi could be seen.
The best part of the morning was meeting Ray Fry - who used to warden the site. An extremely knowledgable and humorous man he showed us various interesting things and sites to look at later in the year. Another Adder was seen and another Large Red Damsel.
Back at the car park we also met his charming wife Jill and we enjoyed a chat with like-minded people.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

The first post!

A trip to Frensham Common in Surrey today. Few solitary wasps on the wing, mainly Pompilids (Spider-hunting Wasps) which I don't have keys for. Also flying were some solitary bees, bee-flys, a few butterflies (mainly Brimstones) and a couple of Common Heath moths. Micro-moths included vast numbers of Cydia succedana around the Gorse bushes.
Shepherd's Cress plants were in flower and the red Mossy Stonecrop was everywhere. I had a couple of brief glimpses of Common Lizard and saw the tail end of a snake, which was probably a brown form of Adder, but I like to hope it may have been a Smooth Snake....!
A single bee which was caught and examined in the bee-squasher was identified as Bombus vestalis - a cuckoo bee which is a parasite on bumble bees. It was released safely!
Thyme-leaved Sandwort was added to the Valhalla list.

On to Frensham church to do the Church Micro geocache set there and a fine display of Star-of-Bethlehem in the churchyard.

Finally, at Woolmer Pond, two Natterjacktoads were seen, along with some (unidentified) blue damselflies, an unidentified dragonfly and a fly which remains to be identified!