Sunday 29 December 2019

Summer 2019 Highlights.

Part 3 of my looking back at 2019 brings us to the Summer when plenty was going on.

The Thursley Cuckoo has to be included although the session wasn't as good as we were hoping with only 2 short visits by the bird, although having said that it was still an amazing experience seeing a Cuckoo at such close range.


A few days after this I took Clare down to Wiltshire for her to see her first Marsh Fritillaries where we also saw many Small Blue and an unexpected find of several Small Eggar larval webs. 

Marsh Fritillary on Salad Burnet.

Nigel and I then ventured back to Kent in search of a rare form of Fly Orchid that I had heard about. After a bit of a search we eventually spotted it in the deep undergrowth.

Fly Orchid Green Form (Var. ochroleuca).

With the re-introduced Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries emerging I had 2 trips to see them with both trips producing some good opportunities. Until this year I hadn't really managed a decent under-side shot so I was pleased to finally get some that I was pleased with.

Female Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary.

I had never seen a Chimney Sweeper moth in the UK before and last Winter I heard about a site in Sussex where they could be found.  A visit to the site in June produced several of these great little moths.

Chimney Sweeper.

Another Kent trip, this time with David looking for the Heath Fritillary. The weather was not good at all for butterflies but eventually I spotted a fresh female deep in the woodland. Not long after this the sun came out and a few more butterflies were also seen followed by some of the rarer Kent orchids.

Female Heath Fritillary.

My next challenge was to find a Silver-studded Blue for Clare,  I was really hoping to find one emerging with attendant Ants which I did manage although it was too deep in the grass to photograph. However, one roosting male posed well for us.

Male Silver-studded Blue.

It has been 10 years since I had seen a Large Blue, and as I had to drive Matt to Heathrow at some crazy time of the morning I decided to divert to Somerset to see them again.

Large Blue.

One of the sites where I discovered White-letter Hairstreaks a few years ago has not produced a sighting now for 2 or 3 years and I did wonder if I would find them again in this area due to the loss of Elm trees.  A search on the 30th June produced nothing until I was about to give up. A quick pan of a Bramble bush with the binoculars then produced a lovely female Hairstreak nectaring on the Bramble flowers.

Female White-letter Hairstreak.

An early morning session then gave me a superb male Chalkhill Blue waking up on the South Downs.

Male Chalkhill Blue.

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