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 .
1 day ago