Tuesday 30 July 2013

Ashdown Forest

A visit to Ashdown Forest last week hunting dragonflies proved to be successful. It was good to catch up with the Silver Studded Blue butterfly first though. Although most were past their best it was the only chance I had this year to see this species of butterfly.
It was then onto the dragonflies though and there were good numbers of Keeled Skimmers about along with several Golden-ringed Dragonflies, however it was the tiny Black Darter that was the star of the day. It was a newly emerged teneral male and it was not able to fly any great distance on its new wings.
Also around the small pool were several Small Red Damselflies including a few mating pairs.
On the way back to the car there were several Oak Eggar Moths seen flying around.

Monday 29 July 2013

Drifting Back (1)

As I've started this blog towards the end of the butterfly season I thought I would go back to some of my favourite days and images from earlier in the year.
Back in May, the 17th a visit to Abbotts Wood gave me the chance to photograph the beautiful Pearl Bordered Fritillary. As it was a cool day it was much more approachable than normal for this species.
Showing off the string of 'pearls' along the edge of the underwing.
The butterfly then flew a short distance and allowed a top view.
2 days previous to this I had a great session on the local downland with a pair of Grizzled Skippers. I watched a female fly into a small enclosed area where it was immediately joined by a male. Within seconds they had paired up where they remained for 27 minutes, at this point the female used her back legs to push the male away. After he had got the message she sat still with her wings wide open for a few seconds before she also flew off.

Sunday 28 July 2013

Silver Spotted Skippers

After the overnight rain Butterflies were very abundant over the downland today with many species at numbers not seen for some time. Small Skippers were particularly numerous.
It was particularly pleasing to see my first Silver Spotted Skippers of the year and there were reasonable numbers of them already. The first sighting in Sussex for this species this year was only 6 days ago but without trying too hard at least 30 were seen today.

With this fresh female it wasn't long before an admiring male was trying to pair up with her flying closely by her and fluttering his wings to send his scent scales over her. He then attempted to clamp onto her to pair up. At this he was unsuccessful though!!

The session finished off with a very smart Brown Argus.

Saturday 27 July 2013

Lulworth Skipper

An early start from Sussex yesterday to Dorset to see the Lulworth Skipper. Arriving on site there was a light sea mist and most butterflies were hiding in the undergrowth. A few Marbled White were visible but the Skippers were not showing. Near the cliff edge I spotted a small skipper and as it was still a bit drowsy it settled long enough to see it was what I was after. A fresh male Lulworth Skipper.


After successfully getting a few photos it was then hunting down a female. This proved quite easy as the sun came out pretty quickly and nearly all the skippers seen turned out to be females.

It was now time to try to get an underside shot. The underside of the antennae is one of the ways to check for Essex and Small Skippers so I was curious to see what the Lulworths' was like and I was quite surprised to find that the tip was orange.
Probably around 60 Lulworth Skippers were seen on the hill above Durdle Door. A few Small Skippers were also present as well as a couple of very fresh Painted Lady. Great Green Bush Cricket were active in the long grasses.
On the way back to Sussex the wellies came out for the very rare Bog Orchid.