But to get there , I had to cross the Common , which meant of course , stopping at the Ash tree . Even in the windy conditions , 15/20 specimens were seen , with at least 5 down on the lower vegetation . Some seen were in reasonable condition , like the one above , but others rated on the other end of the spectrum , having lost more scales from it's wings , than were left . A partitularly strong gust of wind deposited a flash of colour , down amongst the grass , and when I checked , it was a very clean Painted Lady . Even this early , you could feel the day slowly deteriorating , so I headed off for High Elms . On arrival I checked the Conservation Field site without finding any signs of WLHs , but on my way back across the field , I managed to equal my best number of 6 Spot Burnet moths on a single flower . Last time , I had six on a Greater Knapweed flower at Fackenden Down . This time , they were on a Field Scabious , and if one hadn't flown off just before I got there , it would have been a new best number . There were two pairs mating , on either side , and two singletons , just watching I suppose .
On the way up to the Orchid Bank , I checked the Violet Helleborines , and found that both had started to flower . Surprising really , as the second one to show was a good 2/3 weeks behind the first , but is in about the same flowering position as the first now . The sun , when it came out was on some of the Budlleia bushes along the way , but not on the one where the WLH was seen yesterday . On another bush , I counted nine Peacocks , all nectaring as if their lives depended on it , and it was interesting to see the Whites were nectaring on a different bush . I suppose it reduced the number of arguments .
I reached the Orchid Bank in good sunshine , and I thought I had found a WLH , at a distance , in amongst the flowers of the Hemp Agrimony , but it turned out to be a single Ringlet wing , fluttering in the wind . I thought that it was probably torn off by a Hawker Dragonfly , prior to eating the remainder , as I have witnessed this on several occasions . Searching the other heads of flowers , I came across the rest of the poor Ringlet , not the prey of a Hawker , but of a white Crab Spider , that didn't want to be photographed , and abseiled down into the lower vegetation . I checked the other stands of Hemp Agrimony , but still didn't find any WLHs . I stayed on the end of the Orchid Bank till the weather returned to it's cloudy state , and at one time had six Silver Washed Fritillaries in view at one time , but the urgency seems to have gone , and this well tatty individual landed right next to me and posed . He even moved onto my finger , but as I didn't have any nectar , jumped straight off onto the flowers . The females that I saw had some damage , but not as much as this specimen . No egg laying was seen today , but it was noticeably cooler in that wind .
By lunchtime , the sky was totally clouded over , and that's the way it stayed all afternoon .