It was 6 o'clock this evening before today got anywhere near Summer . The rest of the day was made up of heavy drizzle , grey skies and an occasional , fleeting glimpse of the sun .
It was one of these bright interludes that encouraged me out this afternoon , and I headed for Salt Box Hill , below Biggin Hill Airport , close enough to get back quickly if the weather deteriorated . No sooner had I arrived on site , for the second day running , I recorded Common Buzzard , thanks to a Kestrel warning me of it's presence . But with the 100mm. lens on , and the light conditions , it was just a silhouette . The ground vegetation was alive with Grasshoppers and Crickets , like this Dark Bush-Cricket -Pholidoptera griseoaptera , looking like some prehistoric , armoured creature . When it moved , it was identified as a female by the ovipositor extending from the end of her abdomen .
Given the conditions , and the fact that the two Dartmoor ponies had only been taken off site a couple of weeks ago , I did not have much hope for the Butterfly transect . To say I was surprised with the totals would be an understatement . These results combine the fenced , grazed area , and the unfenced , ungrazed one :-
Meadow Brown (41) , Common Blue (37) , Brown Argus (10) , Gatekeeper (29) , Peacock , pictured on Lesser Burdock ( 9) , Green-veined White (2) , Ringlet (4) , Painted Lady , pictured on Marjoram , a most unexpected , pristine specimen (1) , Large White (4) , Comma (4) , Small Heath (20) , Silver Washed Fritillary , a first for this site , (1) , Small Tortoiseshell (1) , Small Copper , a very pristine specimen pictured , as they all were (4) , Large Skipper (1) , Speckled Wood (1) , Marbled White (2) , Large White (4) and Brimstone (9) .
Speaking of which , a couple of individuals posed for seldomly seen shots , of the top wing ,
the proboscis , which can be unwound , to enable the insect to collect nectar from deep into a flower ,
and one of my favourite colour combinations , the sulphur yellow of the male and the purple ofthe Spear Thistle flower .
A totally unexpected 19 species , on a day that I would have been happy with half that number .
6 hours ago