Sunday, August 15, 2010

Aston Rowant NNR (South)

A warm August Sunday encouraged Peter and me to take a walk in the Chilterns at Aston Rowant NNR (South). I was hoping to see some choice late summer butterflies while Peter wanted to experiment with his new zoom lens. Specifically, he wanted to get some flight shots of Red Kite (Milvus milvus). The butterflies did not disappoint; however, the Red Kite did. In fact, I think we saw more around home in Thame!


This was the last walk Peter and I will take for a while. He goes to Leiden tomorrow to study for his Masters Degree; so the walk was a great way to spend time together before he leaves. Also, I have not been in the field for some weeks so it was good to get ‘out there’ again!

The following were of note.

Butterflies:

• Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina);

• Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus) - http://www.flickr.com/photos/peterjcoles/4893499625/;

• Large White (Pieris brassicae);

• Small White (Pieris rapae);

• Green-veined White (Pieris napi);

• Brown Argus (Plebeius agestis);

• Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus);

• Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus) - http://www.flickr.com/photos/peterjcoles/4893772449/;

• Silver-spotted Skipper (Hesperia comma) - http://www.flickr.com/photos/peterjcoles/4894855106/;

• Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni);

• Chalkhill Blue (Polyommatus coridon) - http://www.flickr.com/photos/peterjcoles/4894826572/ & http://www.flickr.com/photos/peterjcoles/4894214261/;

• Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia) – possible sighting only. Large Fritillary seen flying in a glade in the small copse at the foot of Bald Hill. I have almost zero experience with this species but just did not think the insect I saw was a Dark Green Fritillary (Argynnis aglaja)!


Other Insects:


• Roesel’s Bush-Cricket (Metrioptera roeselii) – most parts of the reserve; particularly, the areas of longer grass and brambles, resounded to the sound of this cricket. And both Peter and I managed one view of an adult which showed the broad cream-coloured margin on its pronotum very well.

Flora:

• Chiltern Gentian (Gentianella germanica) – flower spikes very common on Bald Hill with a few inflorescences open.

Chiltern Gentian (Gentianella germanica)

Chiltern Gentian (Gentianella germanica)
Birds:

Not sure why but I was surprised to see some Hirundinidae during the walk: House martin (Delichon urbica) and Swallow (Hirundo rustica). I should know that though they are ‘on the move’ I should expect to migrating parties of these birds for some weeks yet.

Mammals:

Two species of deer were seen on the Reserve today:

• Fallow Deer (Dama dama) – a group of 4 ♀ and 1 young ♂. I do not see this species on the reserve that frequently.

• Roe deer – (Capreolus capreolus) – 1 ♀ plus one juvenile. This gave Peter and me, and this is rather unfair, our Kate Humble moment! The ♀ was one side of a fence while the youngster was on the other side and could not jump the fence. Not nice to see the poor little guy bashing himself against that fence! However, we decided leave as our presence was causing stress and we knew that the ♀ would easily jump the fence to take charge of her offspring again - http://www.flickr.com/photos/peterjcoles/4894291579/ .

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