Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Roving Records - Land East of the Railway Line (14/05/2014)

Powerline Ride in Horleyland Wood

This is probably my favourite spot in the whole of Gatwick (perhaps with the exception of a departure lounge)...

Footpaths in the LERL and woodland rides

Who needs a holiday when you can escape to a spot like this! 

This set of powerlines, running north to south along one edge of Horleyland Wood, is honestly more exciting than it first sounds. A couple of years ago, the path was opened up after some major clearance works in order to keep the overhead cables free from vegetation. Now it has a shrubby edge of coppiced Hazel, graduating down into patches of Bramble and woodpiles, blending further into a fragrant border of Bluebell and Red Campion.

Large White Butterfly (Pieris brassicae)

This is an insect-haven, catching the sun for much of the day and is largely sheltered from the wind. The mixture of open grassland flora and woodland edge flora provides food resources for a greater suite of species. I could literally spend hours on this path, trying to record the awesome variety of inverts or just watching them bumbling about on their personal business. If only I had the hours to spend in spring!

 
Red-headed Cardinal Beetle (Pyrochroa serraticornis) is a distinctive red beetle 
common at this time of the year 

Less common is the Black-headed Cardinal Beetle (Pyrochroa coccinea)

A species of Crab Spider (Misumena vatia), with the distinctive markings of a male

You might think that your common old Bramble looks unimpressive and not worth the effort, but when the sun hits it, the flowers come alive with excitable aculeates...

Early Bumblebee (Bombus pratorum) male

Honey Bee (Apis melifera). This female worker might be one of Tom's tribe

Cuckoo Bee (Nomada spp.)

Plenty of other lovely stuff could be seen in the woods and grasslands on this day, including Azure Blue and Large Red Damselflies, Small and Green Veined White Butterflies, Garden Warblers singing in the woodland edge and Carrion Crows fighting in the open skies with a Common Buzzard.    

Wild Garlic, or Ramsons (Allium ursinum) carpeting the woodland floor in a tasty, pungent layer

Right now the woodland groundflora is at its peak: Bluebells, Red Campion, Cuckoo Flower and Greater Stitchwort all to be found in one spot

Dingy Skipper Butterfly (Erynnis tages) in Goat Meadow

Another one of my excellent birding pics - Common Buzzard (speck in the clouds)

This ride is also where we found that fantastic specimen of Araneus angulatus, which I'm afraid I am still banging on about a year later...