Monday, 25 August 2014

Graylings, Tiger Beetle, Brown Argus, and more Clouded Yellows - 25th August 2014

The last few weeks have seen our luck run out with the weather as glorious sunshine shone through the week only for the clouds and rain to roll in at the weekends. The weekend of the 16th of August looked to be not too bad so on the saturday me, Jon and Kirsty headed off to the north coast of Norfolk to try and see another species of butterfly we hadn't caught up with this so far year. A birding friend of mine who lives in Norfolk (Kieran Nixon) offered to be our guide for the day while we looked for it so after picking him up we found ourselves searching the sea bank near Cley. Unfortunately the forecast of long sunny spells never materialised and a heavy layer of thick grey clouds soon made any blue patches of sky disappear. To add to this the wind was becoming quite strong and was an almost straight westerly which ripped straight along the coast leaving very few sheltered areas. It was very apparant that if we were going to see Grayling it certainly wouldn't be here with weather like this so we took Kieran's advice and decided to head inland to Holt Country Park hoping it will be a little less windy. As we arrived on site the cloud started to break up and we had some brief sunny spells. When the sun did come out the place came alive with numerous Gatekeepers and Meadow Brown and we also had a nice surprise as a Wall Brown made an appearance in the meadow. We found the bare patch of earth where the Grayling are normally found but by now the sun had gone back in and it was looking quiet again. We walked round and round but with no luck and it was looking very likely that we were going to dip. Kieran and Jon had found a male Black Keeled Skimmer which provided a bit of entertainment while trying to get a pic and as they chased it I carried on with the Grayling vigil. Suddenly as I crashed through a patch of heather a large brown butterfly took off and landed a few feet away, at last a Grayling! A large sigh of relief was exhaled as I called the others over for our 51st butterfly for 2014. Once everyone had seen it we then went closer to get some pics and despite the cool conditions it was surprisingly active. We got some good shots of it close up and I also couldn't resist a distant shot to show how well camouflaged they are.

Grayling, Holt CP, Norfolk
"Spot the Grayling" - Holt CP, Norfolk
We managed to see at least two or three while we were there but the other highlight was found by Kirsty as she discovered a Tiger Beetle running through the stones. A real challenge to photograph as it ran like mad. It always amazes me how something so small can run such a long way without stopping once! We got some fairly good pics but I couldn't get a clear one of the jaws, I've included a record shot of it under some vegetation to show those magnificent mandibles!

Tiger Beetle record shot to show jaws, Holt CP, Norfolk

Tiger Beetle, Holt CP, Norfolk
We also had some good views of a magnificent female Southern Hawker egg laying on the bank by the pond further down the hill. She was a stunning shade of green and brought a dash of colour to an otherwise grey day.

Southern Hawker, Holt CP, Norfolk
We decided to call it a day at this point so we headed to the fantastic Dun Cow in Salthouse for a lovely Fish Pie washed down with a couple of pints to celebrate another butterfly species to the yearlist.

The following day (Sunday the 17th Aug) I went to my local site at Grange Park and was very pleased to see that Clouded Yellows had found the site again. I managed to get three in total in the end with a female half way down the bank and two males which ended up fighting each other at the far end near the blanket of Trefoil. I managed to get a couple of pics despite them being very active.

Clouded Yellow, Grange Park 17/08/14

Clouded Yellow, Grange Park 17/08/14
Along with the Clouded Yellows there were lots of Small Heath, Common Blues, Brown Argus, Small Tortoiseshells and Peacocks. I returned the following week (Sunday 24/08/14) but found significantly less butterflies but this may have been due to the fairly cool breeze blowing across the site. I did see plenty of Common Blues and lots of Brown Argus, in fact probably more Brown Argus than I have ever seen in one place at one time showing a good second emergence of both species. Small Tortoiseshells were also evident feeding on the tops of the Ragwort and a couple of pristine Red Admiral were also there. As I was making my way to the car I at last saw yellow butterfly whirling along the bank towards me and after a bit of a chase it landed and I got some pics. Looking at the photos at home I could see that this was one of the males from the week before (compare to the above photo of the Clouded Yellow with the small nick in the hindwing) and this is one of the benefits of digital photography as no two Clouded Yellows are the same and it's with study of the tiny markings on the wings you can track individual butterflies. This is why I have such a huge Clouded Yellow library on my laptop as I try and take detailed pics of all the ones I see here. It was so still I also took the opportunity to grab a video and I had to give it a nudge at the end to get it to move.


Clouded Yellow, Grange Park 24/08/14
Here too is a few pics of some of the other species present.

Tatty Brown Argus, Grange Park, Northants

Common Blue on Budleia, Grange Park, Northants

Small Tortoiseshell, Grange Park, Northants
It seems a lot of the second emergence butterflies are now starting to look tatty so maybe the 2014 butterfly season is now slowly coming to an end. It's been quite a ride trying to see as many as we could and I recommend anyone to do it at least once if they have an interest in them. It's the Arnside Knott trip got rained off as we could've got a few more but that's wildlife watching for you, if it was too easy it wouldn't be so much fun would it?

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Brown Hairstreaks and Wall Browns Bring The Butterfly Yearlist To 50! - 27th July 2014

The weather was bright and sunny on the Saturday of the 26th of July and me, Jon and Kirsty and Sam Candy had already planned to go to Aston Rowant to see the site's specialities of Silver Spotted Skipper and Chalkhill Blue. This site is simply amazing to see, in fact you don't just "see" Aston Rowant you "experience" it in mid summer as the whole place shimmers with butterflies everywhere and on the right day it truly is a sight to behold as Chalkhill Blues fly around your feet. Today didn't disappoint with the wanted species all over the place but I have no idea what was causing it but something out there was causing my hayfever to explode which put a dampener on the morning for me at least as my nose streamed and eyes ran. I did manage a couple of record shots of Chalkhills and Silver Spotted but as I'd achieved better shots last year I didn't try to hard as my eyes were itching like mad.

Chalkhill Blue, Aston Rowant

Silver Spotted Skipper, Aston Rowant
Despite the site being amazing it was somewhat of a relief to me when we left as my sudden attack of hayfever had become pretty bad so we headed to the next target species at the RSPB's reserve at Otmoor. I'd only ever seen one Brown Hairstreak before and that was last year and down the Old Roman Road behind this reserve's car park. So we parked up and headed straight back to the place we'd seen them a year before . I've got to be honest although I was outwardly very confident we'd see one deep inside I didn't think we'd see one at all! Certainly not like we did last year as one came quite far down, the best I was hoping for was a glimpse in the tops of the trees if any. We headed to the particular tree and as me and Jon were discussing what area we saw the previous years butterfly in Sam (who I have to say has a peculiar luck when it comes to finding Brown Hairstreaks) calmly pointed to a thistle right infront of us and said "isn't that one?" We couldn't believe our eyes! A Brown Hairstreak was slowly rotating the way Hairstreaks do on the top of a Thistle flower just at our waist height. It performed fantastically as it flew from flower to flower while slowly rubbing it's wings together and pirouetting around while we all took lots of shots. Unfortunately the base of one of the wings on one side was slightly damaged but other than that it was a nice looking butterfly. Here's a few of the pics below.

Brown Hairstreak, RSPB Otmoor

Brown Hairstreak, RSPB Otmoor

Brown Hairstreak, RSPB Otmoor
After while this little cracker shot back up into the canopy of a nearby Ash but soon enough Kirsty managed to find another one further along the track and this one was just as stunning, in fact it was almost pristine! By now a few more people had arrived and we took it in turns to snap away at this superb butterfly and I also grabbed the opportunity to get a short video too.

Brown Hairstreak, RSPB Otmoor

Brown Hairstreak, RSPB Otmoor

I carried on searching the Roman Road while the others explored the reserve but the best i could do was another Brown Hairstreak high up in a tree. A Common Darter posed nicely on a perch for a moment so I grabbed a quick pic as the sun shone through it's wings.

Common Darter, RSPB Otmoor

We then headed home via Grange Park and we were lucky enough to see a Clouded Yellow just before it was probably about to go to roost for the night, a nice end to a fantastic day!

Clouded Yellow, Grange Park, Northants
 The following day we decided to head to a couple of sites in Cambridgeshire for Wall Brown butterflies. I have admit I didn't realise the were so easy to see in the county as we had intended to head to Norfolk to see them along with Grayling but as these were relatively close to home we gave it a go. After some helpful directions from a mate on a Facebook Group we found ourselves at King's Dyke reserve near Peterborough (please note it's permit only) and had a handful of Walls right underneath the Buddleia opposite the car park. We were pretty ecstatic when we saw them as this was our 50th British butterfly species for 2014! Unfortunately due to the incredibly nice weather they wouldn't stay still for very long so getting pics was certainly a challenge. I managed to get this though all the same which I am very happy with, that underwing is pretty spectacular.

Wall Brown, King's Dyke, Cambs
After we left we headed to Ring's End reserve to see some more Walls before the heat got the better of us and we headed home to have a beer to celebrate the 50.

I haven't mentioned it before as I didn't want to jinx it but me, Jon and Kirsty had set ourselves the challenge to try and see 50 species of British butterfly this year in one season. It's harder than it sounds (especially when working full time) as it requires a lot of nice weather that coincides with days off from work and a considerable amount of luck helps too! Luckily for us we've been very lucky this year considering this is the first time we've attempted this and needed to do quite a bit of prior research to not only find butterfly sites but also to find out where you need to be at the site as some of the butterflies can be tucked in a small corner! We've also met some great people who have helped immensley this year so many thanks to you all. I've also found a great deal of information by carrying out lots of searches using the UK Butterflies forum and various Facebook groups - we'd have never have found the Pearl Bordered Fritillaries at Hailey Wood earlier in the year if it wasn't for people posting online! Hopefully 2014 will bring a couple more butterflies but for now it's a nice feeling to be able to head into the slow lane for a bit. I have to say that chasing butterflies is certainly addictive and this year so far has been superb and very enjoyable with some trips to some amazing places. Biggest thanks of course go to Jon and Kirsty (especially as Kirsty drove on most of the trips!) as we saw them all as a small group and without all of our enthusiasm it wouldn't happen, and of course to Matt for helping us see the Scottish specialites. For me though the Hairstreaks have to be the stars if the year, we have been very lucky to get such good photos of some very elusive insects!

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

A Clouded Yellow and a Painted Lady at Grange Park in Northampton -21st July 2014

The last few days have seen some interesting weather systems as the sunny and hot conditions gave way to some very impressive thunderstorms and some incredible lightning displays. These fronts  coupled with the recent photos and sightings I had seen online turned my mind to a special migrant butterfly called the Painted Lady. The numbers that visit Britain fluctuate every year and sometimes there's lots and other times they can be quite scarce. In fact I only saw one last year and that was in Norfolk so we were wondering how easy they'd be to see this year. They originate from north Africa and they gradually migrate north with some reaching our shores and heading inland during the summer months so with this in mind I headed the my local patch at Grange Park in Northampton on the 20th July. Gatekeepers, Small and Essex Skippers seemed to be everywhere and just about every teasle head had a stunningly fresh Peacock busy feeding away. I went through these systematically hoping to see the orange flash of a Painted Lady but no luck at the base of the bank so I moved along slowly and headed up and hadn't got far before noticing a large butterfly take of and fly to the other side of a small clump of teasles. I was sure it was paler and noticeably more spotted than the Peacocks so I walked round to be greeted by the sight of a Painted Lady busy nectaring away. Migrants can always be held with a degree of uncertainty at the start of a year so a sigh of relief is exhaled when you see one. I rang up Jon and Kirsty to tell them the news and in record timing they arrived on site to enjoy it too. Here's a couple of pics which with the exception of a small degree of tattiness along the hindwing it was a nice looking specimen.

Painted Lady, Grange Park, Northampton
Painted Lady, Grange Park, Northampton
  I also had the following day off work but the all day sunny spells never materialised in the morning. I did have a half hearted look at Brackmills Wood but a couple of lads on a motorbike and the ever greyer cloudy weather meant that not much was seen. I decided therefore to head back to Grange Park to see if anything else had turned up. I was surprised to see the Painted Lady was not only still there but it was busily feeding away on the same bunch of teasles, in fact it hadn't moved from it's location the previous day! I had a walk along the base of the bank and it was all pretty much the same as the day before until I reached a secluded area that's blanketed with a carpet of Trefoil. Almost as soon as I went passed a little yellow butterfly shot up and whirled up and down the bank! "I don't believe it" I said to myself as I watched a male Clouded Yellow do what Clouded Yellows do and tore across the wasteland with very impressive stamina! I'm 6 foot 4 inches tall with a large stride and although I'm not a marathon runner I consider myself to be pretty fit and within an hour it had well and truly wore me out! The first Clouded Yellow of the year (found by Ian Pretty while I was showing him the Bee Orchids here on the 8th of June) shot off so fast I couldn't get pics so I wasn't letting this one go lightly. For those who have seen the epic western The Good, The Bad and The Ugly if you can picture the last scene at the end of the film before the gun fight when Tuco is running through the graveyard then was that pretty much sums up what I was doing, and my legs are still aching a day later! Despite the fierce sun (the previous clouds had dispersed) it did stop every now and then to nectar on a flower allowing me a couple of shots before shooting off again with me running along in tow - only the Benny Hill music was missing (or Ecstasy of Gold if you're still thinking about the film). My favourite shots during the chase are below.

Clouded Yellow, Grange Park, Northampton
Clouded Yellow, Grange Park, Northampton
 I'd made a few phone calls while all this was going on and Jon and Kirsty managed to get to the site in the afternoon to see it while a few more decided to head down in the evening. I couldn't resist heading back too as they're normally more photogenic as they settle down to roost. It took a bit of finding upon the return and unfortunately Ian Pretty had to leave before it did so but as Jon, Kirsty and Doug Goddard appeared I saw the little mustard coloured speck appear through the undergrowth and the chase started again. We did have quite a laugh as we raced round trying to get pics and then eventually it slowed down as it started to find a roosting site finally allowing prolonged and close up photography. We got some good shots as it rested on the floor and posed under leaves with the now low sun shining through the wings.

Clouded Yellow, Grange Park, Northampton
Clouded Yellow, Grange Park, Northampton
Clouded Yellow, Grange Park, Northampton
Stuart Mundy also arrived at the right time as we were watching it roost and he got some good shots too. It's amazing how much happiness one little butterfly can bring to many and I'm not sure if it's the thrill of the chase, getting good pics or just seeing one on the first place? To be honest it's probably a combination of all three!

Thursday, 17 July 2014

A Purple Hairstreak Photo Completes the Set - 17th July 2014

This evening I was lucky enough to get a photo of a Purple Hairstreak which for me is very special little insect. I love the whole family of British Hairstreaks as they (with the exception of the Green Hairstreak) have secretive lives and can seldom come down to the aspiring butterfly photographer. I have long since lost count of the many hours I have put into trying to get pics when the best views I could achieve is of their tiny silhouettes as they fly around their canopy of choice. Despite this a mixture of persistence, good luck and a few tip offs have meant that I have managed to get decent pics of the five British Hairstreaks with the final one tonight - this being the Purple Hairstreak. I find it slightly bizarre really that it took me this long to get a decent shot of one of the commonest Hairstreaks, and one which I regularly see flying around the large Oaks when I am out but until tonight I have never seen one down at eye level. This evening's Purple Hairstreak pics are included below and as it finishes my set of pics of the family I have decided to include all my best Hairstreak pics on one post, so apologies for regular readers as most of these pics you will have seen before.

Black Hairstreak
The Black Hairstreak is one of the rarest of our butterflies and is only found in a handful of sites in Britain. Luckily for us here in Northants one of the best places to see them is Glapthorn Cow Pastures near Oundle. They are stunners and always draw in quite a crowd when they emerge which can sometimes mean they are a challenge to photograph as a crowd of people can rush to see one if an individual tumbles down from the Blackthorn, particularly in years of bad weather when low down specimens can be few and far between! Lucky 2014 had superb weather during the period they were on the wing and I was lucky enough to have them almost to myself this year during my brief but productive visit after work. The main identifying feature is the row of black spots running along the out edge of the hindwing (compare to the White Letter  Hairstreak at the end of this post for comparison).

Black Hairstreak, Glapthorn Cow Pastures, Northants

Black Hairstreak, Glapthorn Cow Pastures, Northants

Black Haitstreak, Glapthorn Cow Pastures, Northants

Black Hairstreak, Glapthorn Cow Pastures, Northants

Black Hairstreak, Glapthorn Cow Pastures, Northants

Black Hairstreak, Glapthorn Cow Pastures, Northants

Black Hairstreak, Glapthorn Cow Pastures, Northants

Black Hairstreak, Glapthorn Cow Pastures, Northants
 Brown Hairstreak
Last year (4th August 2013) I visited RSPB Otmoor with a group of friends and we decided to look along the "old Roman road" just in case a Brown Hairstreak had emerged. We walked up and down a couple of time before a tiny brown butterfly was seen by Sam Candy flying over the group. I watched it land at the top of a Bramble bush and was astonished to see a pristine Brown Hairstreak on top of a leaf. We hurriedly took pics and then it took off and we all held our breathe. We expected it to head back up into the canopy of the nearby Ash trees but in fact it did the opposite! It flew around for a short while before coming down and settling on a flower right infront of us. The below shot says more than I can put into words. An absolute cracker and I was incredibly lucky to be able to get it!

Brown Hairstreak, RSPB Otmoor, Oxon
 Green Hairstreak
Green Hairstreaks hold a special place in my heart as they're one of the first butterflies I actually went out to try and find after seeing reports of them at Twywell Hills and Dales many years ago in 2005. Being rather wet behind the years at the time I had to find them for myself as I didn't know anyone at the time who was into butterflies. I'll never forget that first green flash as one flew infront of a bush and with my limited camera gear I got a passable shot. A lot has changed since then and my experience (and camera gear) has improved considerably! The below pics were taken early this year on Gloucestershire were I was lucky enough to not only capture mating of the species but also egg laying. You may notice the dotted white line on the egg laying individual goes up the outer edge of the forewing aswell as the hind - this makes it the aberration punctata which semed to be very common in the area.

Green Hairsteaks in cop, Prestbury Hill, Glos


Green Hairtreak, Edge Common, Glos

Green Hairstreak egg laying, Edge Common, Glos
 Purple Hairstreak
The below pics are the ones I managed to get tonight (17th July 2014) at Thorpe Malsor near Kettering in Northants. I have a friend of mine called Stuart Mundy to thank for me getting these after he gave me the tip off a few days ago about the site. The normal view of these is of little lilac flashes as they whirl around the tops of Oak trees so to have one so low for a prolonged period of time was a real treat! To add to the occasion it was also a nice looking specimen too.

Purple Hairstreak, Thorpe Malsor, Northants

Purple Hairstreak, Thorpe Malsor, Northants

Purple Hairstreak, Thorpe Malsor, Northants
 White Letter Hairstreak
The story behind these pics of the final British Hairstreak was covered in the previous post so I'll keep it short to avoid repetition. These were taken over two seperate occasions a few days apart at Bedford Purlieus in Cambridgeshire. Once again I was very lucky in the first instance as the butterfly was literally flawless with hardly a mark on it. Notice also the comparison between this and the Black Hairstreak above with the lack of black spots along the outer edge of the hindwing.

White Letter Hairstreak, Bedford Purlieus, Cambs

White Letter Hairstreak, Bedford Purlieus, Cambs

White Letter Hairstreak, Bedford Purlieus, Cambs

White Letter Hairstreak, Bedford Purlieus, Cambs








Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Purple Emperors, Silver Washed Fritillaries, Dark Green Fritillaries, and White Letter Hairstreaks - 16th July 2014

Since the last post Northamptonshire has played host once again to one of the butterfly higlights of the year, this being the Purple Emperor display at Fermyn Woods. This year didn't disappoint with plenty of sightings throughout the wood and also the first White Letter and Purple Hairstreaks of the year for me. What was also nice on the day we visited (2nd of July) is we met with a few people from a Facebook group that concerns butterfly sightings in the area. These groups are invaluable for meeting new people and learning about new sites and when butterflies emerge at them. We all met up at 09.30 and a few of the early people (myself, Jon and Kirsty included) were awarded with a Purple Emperor in the car park before we even set off into the wood.

Purple Emperor, Fermyn Woods, Northants
We then ventured into the woods admiring the many White Letter Hairstreaks whirling around at the tops of the Ash and Elm trees and it wasn't long before we chanced upon another Purple Emperor loafing about in the path. It was very well behaved and all of the group managed to get good views and shots of it. I spent so long last year preoccupying myself with getting overwing shots I neglected the rather stunning underwing and so I concentrated on this in my photography this time. It performed very well on the ground and in nearby bushes allowing photography from nearly every angle.

Purple Empeor, Fermyn Woods, Northants

Purple Empeor, Fermyn Woods, Northants

Purple Emperor (close up of wing), Fermyn Woods, Northants
 Purple Emperors are of course partial to settling on people too and this year the above butterfly after a brief fly around decided to have a look at my shoe, and was so preoccupied in doing so it allowed me to pick it up. Here are a few shots of it taken by Antony Wren.

Purple Emperor on my shoe, Fermyn Woods - pic taken by Antony Wren

Purple Empeor, Fermyn Woods - pic taken by Antony Wren

Purple Empeor, Fermyn Woods - pic taken by Antony Wren
 After a brief walk around Lady Wood seeing more Purple Emperors and White Letter Hairstreaks (and also bumping into Andy Wyldes for a nice chat) a few of us left Fermyn Woods and headed to nearby Bedford Purlieus in the hope that White Letter Hairstreaks may have come down to nectar. Unfortunately despite a few hours searching we drew a blank but astonishing number of Silver Washed Fritillaries slightly made up for it even if they were a challenge to photograph!

Silver Washed Fritillary, Bedford Purlieus

Silver Washed Fritillary, Bedford Purlieus

Silver Washed Fritillary, Bedford Purlieus
 After this visit I didn't have any time off work until the following Monday and as I had to visit the east of the county to get some tyres off my Uncle I couldn't resist driving the extra half an hour or so to Robert's Field in south Lincolnshire to try and see Dark Green Fritillaries. I wasn't to be disappointed as I saw one almost as soon as I entered the gate into the reserve! The weather was so hot though they were incredibly charged and getting pictures involved a lot of chasing around! Eventually after about an hour of running and swearing a lot I did get one nectaring on a flower head and it posed for pics before taking off and shooting off across the field.

Dark Green Fritillary, Robert's Field, Lincs
Dark Green Fritillary, Robert's Field, Lincs
As soon as I got the pics though I decided to leave, I could have spent all day chasing them in order to get better ones but there was an ulterior motive for coming up here and this was to return to Bedford Purlieus. Hairstreaks are my favourite species of butterflies and ever since learning last year  that White Letters regularly come down at this site I've been chomping at the bit to see it for myself as I've only ever seen them flitting around in the tree tops. I drove straight from Robert's Field and arrived at Bedford Purlieus at 09.45am and wandered down the ride (luckily coming here the previous week meant I at least knew where to be even if we hadn't seen any at the time) meeting local butterfly watcher Keith who was also there for the same reason as me. We walked up and down but to no avail and to add to the sinking feeling the clouds were now rolling in and a previously bright blue sky was becoming cloudy with sunny spells. I kept walking up and down though and at about 10.15 a small brown butterfly whizzed passed which looked very much like a White Letter but I lost it in amongst the swarm of Gatekeepers buzzing the tops of the bushes. I continued to walk up and down and then as I passed the block of ferns I noticed a small brown triangle in the middle! I walked closer and jumped the ditch to be rewarded with a few of a pristine White Letter Hairstreak slowly rotating on the top of a fern. To add to the luck it was a stunning looking specimen, one which Keith quite rightly referred to as "flawless", and it posed fantastically for photo's as it slowly pirouetted on it's perch.

White Letter Hairstreak, Bedford Purlieus

White Letter Hairstreak, Bedford Purlieus
After we had our pics I decided to push my luck a bit as no one else was around and popped my finger next to to see what it would do. I couldn't believe my luck as it slowly crawled onto my hand! The below pic also goes someway in showing just how small they are. After a few pics I popped it back onto it's fern and it then flew onto a nearby flower before heading up and back into the trees and lost from view.

White Letter Hairstreak, Bedford Purlieus
I left here at this point to get some jobs done that I needed to do (dreaded MOT so tyres were needed) and as the clouds built up I tool one last snap of the day as a fantastic looking fresh Small Tortoiseshell nectared on a flower during a brief visit to Fermyn Woods

Small Tortoiseshell, Fermyn Woods
Such is the allure of these White Letters I couldn't resist coming back to Bedford Purlieus yet again at the weekend this time in the company of Jon Philpot. We spent the whole day out exploring a few sites but as the weather wasn't playing ball we didn't see much elsewhere but as ever Bedford Purlieus was alive with butterflies with the Silver Washed Fritillaries putting on quite a show despite them starting to look a bit tatty now.

Silver Washed Fritillaries, Bedford Purlieus

Silver Washed Fritillary, Bedford Purlieus
Jon also found a stunning newly emerged Peacock too which just had to have it's picture taken! It's a shame that the commoner species get so often overlooked as they can look incredible when at their best.

Peacock, Bedford Purlieus
We had met a couple at the site who were also looking for White Letter Hairstreak and after hours of searching I was noticed they were taking pics of something. I looked over and they waved us over. We dashed over and was rewarded with a White Letter feeding on Marjoram so we got to work taking pics and I also couldn't resist a short video.


White Letter Hairstreak, Bedford Purlieus
The next focus of my attention will now be drawn in the direction of Chalkhill Blues and Silver Spotted Skippers and so hopefully the next post will be full of them. Well fingers crossed it will anyway!!