It was cool and overcast when I arrived at the bank frequented by this species , and from that vantage point , I couldn't see any breaks in that cloud . Eventually , small chinks of blue started to appear , and so did the first of about 10 specimens seen today , all in pristine condition . Slowly , one by one , they arrived for breakfast on one of the only stands of Greater Knapweed-Centaurea scabiosa . The species gets it's name from the green wash on the underwings . They are attracted to purple flowers like the Greater Knapweed , but I also photographed them later nectaring on Pyramidal Orchid and the yellow flower of one of the Hawkweed/Hawkbit family . Also there for breakfast were a couple of 6 Spot Burnet moths .
After commenting on Rob's blog , Wight Rambles the other day about how infuriating it can be trying to photograph the red hindwing of the Cinnabar moth , I found one today caught up in the long grass , and spent a couple of minutes releasing it . As a 'thank you' , the moth then showed it's hindwing , briefly , but enough to get a rare shot .
The cloud closed in again , so I headed towards the River Darenth , in search of Odonata . Checking stands of Nettles for caterpillars , which I found few of , I came across lots of Harlequin Ladybirds . Not only adults , but several larvae , and a couple of pupae too . This particular pupa , seemed to be just in the process of shedding it's old skin , and moving into the next stage or instar , of it's developement . Close to the Darenth , I found the species that I had been hoping for , the Banded Demoiselle-Calyopteryx splendens , and very splendid they are too . The male , electric blue , with a blue band across both pairs of wings . Like many Odonata , they have set up territories along the bank , and defend their patch against all comers , hoping to attract a female to lay her eggs , that he will fertilise , into the emergent vegetation along the bank .
I saw no sign of mating , in fact nearly all the females were away from the water , resting of feeding , like the one above , just finishing a small moth that she had caught in flight .The only other species found in large numbers was the Common Blue Damselfly , with many pairs found in tandem . Most females were of the 'drab' form , being coloured a pinky grey , but I did find one pair , where the female , on the right , was of the blue form , the first time I have photographed the combination . Birdwise , things were quite quiet , but I did hear Turtle Dove calling whilst I was photographing the Fritillaries , along with several Yellowhammers . Skylarks showed in good numbers , which was pleasing , and their song just makes the weather better . This one was just starting it's parachute decent . Surprisingly , not a single Burnet Companion was recorded today , but several Treble Bars were . And finally , help please with a caterpillar which I looks like a moth species , found in a Bramble patch whilst following Odonata . Done some digging after dinner , and I think it is the caterpillar of the Yellow Tailed Moth - Euproctis similis .