Nature Notes Nature Notes 2010

August 2010

August already! I hope you are making the most of this long, reasonably hot summer. I have been out and about a lot just recently, my friends at RSPB asked me to help out with a Cirl Bunting survey and let me tell you, there is no more effective way of learning an area than to walk both sides of every hedge you come across. I went out on Culdrose air day, so there was even more to interest me, but sadly I missed the Vulcan, although I was reminded about the joke relating to the connection between Mr Spock’s mother and Port Stanley airfield! NO, I WILL NOT tell you the punch line (Your Editor forbids me to) – if you can’t work it out, you’re too young!

But, I was keenly aware that this is the time of year when our insect life takes centre stage. All the way round I was accompanied by lepidoptera and demoiselles. Demoiselles (caleopteryx virgo) flutter rather than fly. Males take up prominent perches along their breeding territory to display and only leave them to make short forays to ward off intruders. If the intruder is a smaller damselfly or even a butterfly, they will simply flash their wings to deter the intruder rather than fly after them. Several males will attempt to court a female in elaborate chases with the winner eventually displaying to her by energetically fluttering his wings in front of her. Isn’t it strange how much wildlife imitates human behaviour? (Or the other way round, maybe?) Not common, but try looking along overgrown stream banks because they do love lush damp habitat.

Buddleia is out and you can understand why some people used to think that butterflies were some form of fruit of this highly invasive thug. I can forgive it though when you see it on a sunny day absolutely smothered in butterflies.

On one bush, I came across I saw Peacock, Red Admiral, Comma, Ringlet, Cabbage White (not so welcome and a couple of others, but further on I also came across a Blue – can’t tell you which because I am hopeless at flutterby identification, but have a look at the last two photos below and tell me if you can think of anything more perfectly beautiful. I watched it move from flower to flower; never hurried, but so precise and delicate.

Those of you who read my early contributions to Roseland Online may recall mention of the fearsome black rabbit of St Just – the one that used to savage small French cars as they passed innocently towards the KHF. Well, I think he must have bought himself a bike! I was east of Portscatho the other day when I came across wild black rabbits in the fields. They are a little more timid that our local hero, but I still managed to get a blurry photo.

I hope you enjoy the many splendid sights to be seen on the Roseland, although the scale is a little smaller than usual, go and explore a Buddleia bush – it will be alive with beauty!

PS; the Cirls are doing well, enjoying and thriving in the drier early summer that we have all been enjoying. Would anyone be interested in a presentation on the progress the project has been making? I am sure I have enough evidence on the team to be able to persuade one of them to give us a talk, one winters evening. Let me know!

Ian Bennett

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