Thursday, 20 May 2010

Thursday 20th.May 2010

Having postponed the trip earlier in the week , I decided to chance the weather , and go looking for the rarest White butterfly , the Wood White .I was joined on the trip by Keith , my fellow butterfly enthusiast from High Elms . We set off in beautiful sunshine for woodland the other side of Guildford . Apart from a couple of slow patches on the motorway the trip went well until we approached the A3 , and a large bank of cloud , stretched across in front of us . We pressed on , and arrived at the wood in overcast , but mild conditions , not exactly conducive to butterfly spotting . The weather did not affect the birds in the area , and we were greeted by , Nightingale , Blackcap , Chiffchaff , Garden Warbler , Common Whitethroat and Cuckoo . We headed off along a broad ride , and within 5 minutes we had found our first specimen . A small and delicate butterfly with a slow , fluttering flight . There was hardly a breath of wind along the ride , and more butterflies were found , some feeding on the Greater Stitchwort , and some still at rest . In an open area , we also searched for Pearl-bordered Fritillary , which I had seen many years ago on the site , but did not find any , they probably needed some sun to encourage them out . We found two pairs of Wood Whites courting , facing each other , and flicking their wings , whilst touching antennaes . Then Keith followed a pair across the open space , and within a couple of minutes , they were coupled . We also recorded Orange Tip , Dingy Skippper , Brimstone and Green-veined White . Also found was this Cardinal Beetle-Pyrochroa coccinea . The Nightingales sang all the time we were on the site as did the Cuckoo . Several Wood Ant nests were found , and at one we stood and listened , and we could hear the Ants at work a couple of metres away . By lunch time , with no change in the weather , we decided to try our luck at another of my favourite sites on the Downs , high above Dorking . By the time we arrived , the cloud was thinning a bit , and more importantly , the slope was out of any wind . The most obvious emergence seen on our arrival was that of the 6 Spot Burnet moth , and they were all in pristine condition . A flash of metallic blue was our first sighting of a male Adonis Blue , looking similar to the Common Blue , but having the black lines crossing the outer white fringes of the wings . There weren't large numbers of this species , as the first brood is usually considerably smaller than the second , which will be on the wing mid August to September . Just one female was found and she was in pristine condition too . Other species recorded were Green Hairstreak , Grizzled Skipper , Large White , Small Heath , Peacock and just before leaving a couple of male Common Blues , without the black lines crossing the white outer fringe , bringing the day's tally to a round dozen . Apart from the Burnet moths , Mother Shipton , Burnet Companion and I think Treble Bar , although neither of us managed to get a shot of it , were also seen . Lots of Soldier Beetles were seen , along with this Rose Chafer-Cetonia aurata , and a couple of Leaf Beetles-Cryptocephalus hypochaeridis , I think , who seemed to be enjoying themselves .
A day that seemed doomed on the outward journey , turned into a very successful one , in very good company .


Warren Baker said...

love those butterfly photos Greenie. I am getting a bit obsessed with butterflies, just like i am with birds......

Anonymous said...

Another great post Greenie.
BTW those 6-spot Burnets have only got 5 spots ?

ShySongbird said...

What a productive day you had! I have a feeling I have seen the Wood White in the past and not realised what it was. As is so often the case with your posts I was prompted to look it up and found that, just to confuse matters.... 'it has only recently been separated from the visibly-identical RĂ©al's Wood White'...!

When you say you 'could hear the Wood Ants at work' do you mean the movement of the soil and old leaves?

Lovely photos again
Greenie and another very informative post!