With another day of wall to wall sunshine forecasted , I felt robbed that I could only snatch an hour of the day to search for butterflies , or anything else , up on the Downs .
Even at 10.30 am. , out of the sun , there was still a residual chill from a sub zero overnight temperature . Nevertheless , the first butterfly found was a female Orange Tip , which I followed along a track , until she decided to stop and feed on a Common Dog Violet , giving a good view of the underwing , which , if the wings are closed , makes for a very good camouflage from predators . Out in the open , the sun was warming things up very nicely , and this 7 Spot Ladybird was taking full advantage , perched on a Silver Birch twig . When I reached a kissing gate , I noticed a couple of flashes of colour , that turned out to be my first Green Hairstreaks of the year . Needless to say , two males , fighting over the real estate . this one posed nicely on the end of a cut Bramble . This species is very easily overlooked as their underwing green blends in so well with the vegetation , and the top wing , plain and unmarked brown , makes it very difficult to follow in flight .
The most numerous species seen was the Peacock , followed closely by the Brimstone , with both males and females , some looking to lay eggs on their foodplant , the Buckthorn . This female was just exhausted , as I had watched her being persued relentlessly by a male , until he gave up , and she collapsed into the grass . I recorded one Comma , but no sign of either Dingy or Grizzled Skippers , which was disappointing .
I also came across two male Adders , 7 Slow Worms and 2 Common Lizards .
On the roadside bank , near where I parked the car , Common Field Speedwell is already in flower .
23 hours ago