There was a lot of mating going on on all three sites , and these two Strangalia maculata , were really putting in an effort . Very close by in the Brambles , a pair of Shield Bugs , which might be Forest Bugs , had nothing else on their minds .
From the Common , I headed off to High Elms , with the intention of relocating those fresh White Admirals . But first , I checked a Wych Elm on the edge of the Conservation Field , where I recorded White Letter Hairstreak last year . Still a bit early I know , but this weather has brought everything on early this year . I didn't get any WLH sightings , but as I walked the fenceline between the field and the woodland , 3 Silver Washed Fritillaries came past me at a rate of knots . They could be from the colony at Burnt Gorse , but that is half to three quarters of a mile away , could there be another in the woods beyond the field ? When things calm down , I'll check that area . As soon as I reached the top path , I started getting SWF sightings , and in the glade before Burnt Gorse I had 4 specimens arguing over the ownership . Once again , every glade/clearing provided sightings , and there seemed to be more females about , like this one . Sorry if they are getting boring , but it is their time now . I was finding good numbers of the migrant , day flying moth , the Silver Y , so I gave Burnt Gorse a good look over , hoping that a Clouded Yellow might have travelled over with them , but it wasn't to be . I did find a mating pair of Marbled Whites , and considering that the best record so far there is 3 , hopefully a better count will be forthcoming next year . The only other unusual find was a male Brimstone , and to say he was past his sell by date , was an understatement , but he was still flying , just . I headed home for lunch , and on the way , on the side of the lane , Chicory , a member of the Daisy family , provided a cooling blue .
I had a few pick ups to do after lunch , but it just happened that I had to pass Spring Park Pond , on my way back . Just Large Red and Azure Damselflies were recorded on the pond , and I took another 5 Emperor Dragonfly exuvia off as well . The water level has dropped dramatically and the Parrots Feathers are really strangling the whole water surface now . Around the pond , a Large White was nectaring contentedly on the Creeping Thistles , and , yes , the whole area was bathed in the aroma of honey . Also around the pond , the aptly named Pineapple Mayweed , another member of the Daisy family , that just loves well trodden places . The small sheltered meadow provided the most excitement , with a pair of Small Skippers mating , by the edge of the path . In all , I recorded 10 species , with Small Skipper being the most numerous (24) , but the last recorded butterfly was my first Gatekeeper of the year , a male , looking very fresh . The underwing is very similar to a small male Meadow Brown , but that shows black spots on the underwing , whereas the Gatekeeper shows white spots .
And finally , help please with a moth caterpillar , which hatches out and then demolished Yellow Flag Iris leaves ?