Friday, 7 August 2015

7th August - See The Word of The Prophet

The sun is out, there is little wind and it is warm, the next question to be answered is would there be butterflies?  I took the chance at lunch to walk around Old Down and through the meadow in the hope I could relocate the White Admiral, and catch up with Small Copper.

I parked at the pond, and stopped to watch four Emperor Dragonflies chasing each other low over the water.  I could also see several damselflies about too,  I waited to see if the dragonflies would settle but they didn't and with not much time available to me I decided to head off.

In the grass verge there was a clump of fungi, these are some form of fibrecap I think.

I walked towards Kitwood rather than going into the wood.  I wanted to check the Violet Helleborines to see if they were in flower.  And they were, not all, but a few petals at the base of the stem.

Looking closer you can see the pinkish purple markings on the petals, nothing brash, just subtle, delicate and beautiful.

I turned into the meadow at Kitwood and was greeted by a lot of flying butterflies, but unfortunately not the ones I was hoping to find.  Once again the majority were Meadow Browns followed by a few Gatekeepers.

There was a single Peacock on the knapweed heads

And a very nice male Brimstone.

And this Small White on the Ragwort.

But there was no sign of any Blues or more importantly the Small Copper.

Again pressed for time I left the meadow and quickly across the field towards Old Down.  The path leading in from the field has been a good spot for White Admiral before, but today there was nothing.  I did though find a cousin sitting in amongst the Sweet Chestnut leaves.

A little further on a Red Admiral appeared and posed well in the open for me.

The Meadow Browns were about again, flying up from the grass as I walked by, but as I turned on to the main path there was a collection of small birds in the small bushes one of which was a male Blackcap.

I think it must have had a bath somewhere, probably in a puddle.

The bramble on the path towards Old Down Cottage was now in full sunlight and the butterflies continued to appear, this Speckled Wood.

A Green-veined White.

And several Large Whites

There was also a Southern Hawker in the same spot as I had seen it last month, and once again I watched it springing the grass stems.  I could not find any sign of the White Admiral though.  As I walked out of the wood I noticed a Comma by the thistles, which then flew into the field.  As I hadn't seem a Comma here for awhile I decided to walk through the gap into the field to try and find.  I am really glad that I did that.

I found the Comma but it wouldn't settle for a photograph, but I did mange to find this Essex Skipper.

The skipper flew off away from the thistles and over the small Mayweed that was thick atthe end of the barley in the field.  As it did I noticed an orange butterfly on the ground, closer look revealed the one I was looking for a Small Copper.

There were in fact three present, and they all looked pristine as if they had just emerged.  They flew to the flower heads but didn't stay long preferring to settle on the dry earth in the sunshine.

There was a lot of activity over the Mayweed, and in amongst the skippers and Gatekeepers I picked out a blue, it was a Common Blue and was nectaring on the flower head.

There were two Common Blues and they were flying around dueling every so often.  As they were flying about a darker butterfly but slightly smaller joined them.  I followed it about willing it to settle.  Finally it stopped on a Mayweed, and my hopes were confirmed, a Brown Argus.

Slightly opening the wings

Then finally showing the underside.

Brown Argus is my 27th butterfly for the patch, and with Small Copper making 26 for the year.

I left the field, and thanked the Comma for leading me in and then headed back to the car at the pond where a Moorhen was feeding in amongst the lilies, and the dragonflies continued to circle the pond.

Only a short visit, but a very successful one.

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