With a better forecast for the morning than the afternoon , I was out early up on the Common , after quite a cool night . Before even reaching the Ash tree , I spotted a Painted Lady down in the grass . With apologies to those fed up with PL shots , I just feel that as we will probably never see so many in the country again , we should make the most of it . I slowly approached her , then got down in front , and managed to get the camera within 25 cms. of her . I can only think that she was still cold from the night , and stayed still for my shots . I got about half a dozen , then she showed signs of moving , and in a split second from still , she was up and away over the adjacent trees . I made my way over to the Ash , where there was a fair bit of movement , but nothing like a couple of weeks ago . The odd one or two dropped down onto the lower vegetation , but only for a short time , before they too were off . This one is definitely showing wear and tear now . I was just about to leave and have a look around when I noticed a male Scorpion Fly-Panorpa cognata , and in the position he was in , showing well his beak and scorpion type tail . The female has just an ovipositor at the end of her abdomen . Whilst walking around . I found a couple of specimens with out of the ordinary colour/marking . The first was a Small Copper , with most of the copper margin on the hind wing missing . This species is prone to variation , and even albinos are recorded . The second was one of the large number of Gatekeepers recorded on the site , with the spots that are usually seen just on the underwing , showing through on the topwing . On one of the heathland areas , I found a Holly Blue , freshly emerged . I'm pretty sure it was a male , but only saw the topwing when it flew , and there didn't seem to be large dark markings on the forewings . In all , 15 species were recorded , being , Purple Hairstreak (15/20) , Painted Lady (16) , Gatekeeper (100+) , Meadow Brown (13) , Small Copper (1) , Common Blue (6) , Small Skipper (1) , Large White (7) , Holly Blue (1) , Small White (3) , Green Veined White (2) , Peacock (2) , Speckled Wood (3) , Ringlet (2) and Brimstone (3) , which were all fresh , meaning that they have emerged without me finding a single chrysalis , but not for want of trying . Only other thing of interest , was my first Tawny Grisette-Amanita fulva , according to the books , an Autumn species . Like all members of the Aminita family , the stem emerges out of a large bag-like volva .
After lunch , and cleaning the windows , the sky just got less cloudy by the minute , till there wasn't one to be seen at all . I decided to go back onto the Common , to check on the Small Tortioseshell caterpillars . Their stand of Nettles was bathed in sunshine , and it looks as though the colony has dispersed from the silk tent , although I did see a couple on other stems , so hopefully , all goes well . On the same Nettle , I found a Speckled Bush-Cricket , and the antennae rule of thumb certainly works with this one . A few weeks ago , I mentioned that PHs feed on Blackberries , when they are well ripe . Warren queried this , and probably thought , what's the silly old *** talking about . Well , today , in the tangle of Nettles and Brambles behind the Small Tortoiseshell's stand , had several PHs moving about . Risking life and limb , again , I cut , pushed my way into the jungle , and post the last two shots for Warren .
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