My heart couldn't stand another round of 'Adder dancing' , so this morning , I decided to do the second full butterfly transect at High Elms , which takes about 2 hours . Although the sun was well up , it was still chilly at 10 o'clock , but I pushed on . On the edge of the Golf Course , I found a large Peacock , which I assumed was a female , acting very strangely on an area of Nettles . She , was fluttering from Nettle to Nettle , as if she was intent on egg laying , but then just sat , wings fully open , basking in the sun , before moving on to another Nettle , and doing the same again . I left her to make her mind up . Further along , on the chalk grassland , I spotted a plant amongst the Cowslips and Primroses , that was neither one or the other . The flowers said Primrose , but the multi flowered stems said Cowslip . The Primrose produces it's flowers , one per stalk , and the Cowslip produces flowers that are much smaller , and never open as fully as the Primrose . This was an Oxlip-Primula elatior , the first that I have recorded on the site . The butterflies were slow coming , but the odd Orange Tip and Brimstone was recorded . Getting to Burnt Gorse , I was hoping again for Dingy or Grizzled Skipper , and again left disappointed , but an aerial battle around the Wayfarer tree , that seems to be prime real estate , alerted me to a pair of male Green Hairstreaks , deciding who owned it . Following these small butterflies is really difficult , so , I was glad when the winner took his place on the rostrum , to survey all he owned , whilst I got a shot of him . Nothing else earth-shattering was recorded , and I finished up with Peacock (5) , Small White (1) ,Orange Tip (6-all male) ,Brimstone (3) , Green Hairstreak (5) and Comma (1) . Not a lot I know , but better than the big fat 0 recorded on my first transect .
On the way home , I called in at the Common , and as there were no female Brimstones egg laying , had a look for their efforts . In a very short period of time , I found 7 eggs , in the picture , the creamy cylinder on the right hand leaf , all laid on the tender young leaves of the Buckthorn , first meal waiting for the caterpillars when they hatch out . as I walked back to the car , it got me thinking about the Purple Hairstreak eggs , that were laid on Oak buds , back last Summer . Some will have survived predation and all the Winter threw at them , and now that the Oak buds are just about to burst , will hatch out shortly , eat the fresh leaves , and hopefully appear on this blog in July/August , to start the whole cycle all over again . In the car park itself , Common Comfrey is coming into flower , but I couldn't work out what the yellow substance was on the leaf . I thought at first it might be eggs , but under an eye glass , it didn't seem so , more like a mould of some sort . The warmer days has also brought into flower Jack by the Hedge or Garlic Mustard-Alliaria petiolata , which is used as a foodplant , along with Cuckoo Flower , by the Orange Tip butterfly .
During the morning , I came across a pair of male Speckled Woods , disputing the ownership of a sunny glade . One of several attempted shots of the frenetic battle almost froze the battle , but not quite . The second Speckled Wood is just above the Holly leaf .
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