Midsummer's day , and for once the sun was shining this morning , and with little wind , it almost felt like Summer .
I decided to do the Butterfly transect at High Elms , but on the way , stopped at the Ash tree on the Common , to see if any Purple Hairstreaks were celebrating the solstice , but there weren't , just a single Large Skipper was recorded .
It was pleasantly warm as I arrived at the Golf Club car park , and headed off for the 2 hour + transect . I hadn't even got my notebook out , never mind the camera , when a female Roe Deer sped across the small unfenced part of the Conservation field in front of me . From there on , it was hard work finding butterflies . A few Common Blues , many of them looking very tatty now , but these will hopefully have mated , and the eggs laid by the female will provide a second brood that will appear in August/September . The same small area also provided the first recorded Brown Argus this year on the site and another was found in the fenced off area . Both were males , identified by the bluing of the abdomen and the fact that the orange spots on the topwing do not reach the leading edge of the forewing , as they do in the female . More Meadow Browns were recorded this visit , all males , and if the good weather continues , there could well be an explosion of them this week . In the Brambles on the side of the field , the only Green-veined White recorded today was found . Then came the excitement , when I spotted a very fast , low flying butterfly . Looking into the sun , I couldn't get any co;our on it , but thought it could be a Clouded Yellow . It led me a merry chase all over the Conservation field , until finally , I managed to get it in the binoculars . A Clouded Yellow it wasn't , but it was my first recorded Painted Lady of the year , even if she was a bit damaged on the hindwing .
Still lots of Burnet Companions about , and several Silver Y were found too . The odd Burnet moth and a couple of Mother Shiptons , this one showing the witches faces well . Burnt Gorse was very quiet , but in the little glade used by the Silver Washed Fritillaries for their egg laying , I recorded my first Ringlet of the year . I failed to get a shot when it just disappeared into the ground vegetation . I checked another small glade for White Admiral , without success , by did come face to face , at a distance , with this Fox . Unfortunately , I had the 100mm. macro lens on the camera .
The transect finished with 14 species recorded : Large Skipper (5) , Common Blue (44) , Meadow Brown (31) , Small White (2) , Brown Argus (2) , Green-veined White (1) , Large White (2) , Painted Lady (1) , Comma ( 2 both very tatty ) , Speckled Wood (6) , Dingy Skipper (1) , Ringlet (1) , Holly Blue (1) and Brimstone (2) .
After lunch , I had a quick look at Salt Box Hill , as it will be a 'no go' area at the weekend with the Biggin Hill Air Show on . The 2 Dartmoor ponies are still on site , and in answer to my email , they will be there for most of the Summer . By now the clouds had returned and there was very little on the wing . In the fenced off 'horse paddock' just a tatty Peacock and a couple of Meadow Browns wee seen , I dread what impact the devastation will have on the Marbled White in a week or so . The smaller unfenced area produced 1 Small White , 4 Meadow Browns , 3 Large Skippers , 1 Brimstone and 2 Ringlets . One of these was much happier to pose , and , from the look of him , he had emerged a very short time ago . He flew off , but landed again and gave an underwing shot opportunity too .
And finally , one for the detective squad . I saw this moth land whilst passing through a very dark copse . I tried a shot without flash first , but the shutter time was long , hence the blurry picture . The second , with flash , shows the shape better , but bleaches the colours , but to me the markings on the moth look somewhat unusual . Any ideas ? With many thanks to Dean/DDD now identified as Broken-barred Carpet , but as Dean points out , this ones middle bar isn't broken , just to make identity even harder .
4 hours ago