Mark Russell is a keen naturalist, supporter of Osterley Park and member of our volunteer birding group. He often sends me his observations which I thought I would share on this blog – thanks Mark!
Today was the first time for a month that I’d been able to take a walk round Osterley Park.
I attempted a deliberate, non-bird walk round the lakes. It was good to see Common Blue, Blue Tailed and Red Eyed Damsels still going strong along with two, male, Black Tailed Skimmers on patrol. The water level in the Middle Lake was commendably high which has surely helped emergence along with the sturdy, marginal vegetation which was looking great and attracting and hosting some invertebrates way beyond my powers of identification. I also observed meadow brown, comma, small skipper and green-veined white butterflies along with other day-flying and/or disturbed micromoths.
The best bit though, was when a visitor to OP approached and asked me if I could tell her about the seagull she’d seen flying into the water head-first.
She had seen a tern fishing and as I began to explain, a gathering of other young people who had also seen it became genuinely interested too.
Some non-bird walk! This enthusiasm made my day.
Black Tailed Skimmer
Good to see you today.
All three species of previously reported damsels were still flying, some in tandem. It really is a remarkably late season.
One dragon, a Brown Hawker was on patrol over the water near the island on the Middle Lake. Brilliant. This is only the second time in three years that I’ve seen this one at OP so it’s nice to hope that it may be home-grown.
Small Copper butterflies were feeding on the flowers of water mint along with good numbers of the other browns mentioned previously.
The Cinnabars have eaten all the ragwort foliage and only three larvae remain in a hopeless search for food. I hope some of them managed to pupate before they started eating each other, unless of course, these are three, lucky cannibals.
Examining the defoliated host plants, I noticed a solitary, bright yellow looper, about 10mm in length and =>1mm in diameter, around the calyx of one of the flowers. I’m trying to ID it. Any ideas?