Well , despite Phil giving it 'the kiss of death' and Warren 'putting the mockers on it' , the visit from Butterfly Conservation , Kent Branch , took place this morning at High Elms . Mind you , an hour before the start , the sky was grey and a stiff NW wind was blowing , not ideal butterfly weather . By the time I arrived at the car park , the cloud had started to break up , and by start time , 25 members were ready for the two target species , Silver-washed Fritillary and White-letter Hairstreak . By the time we reached Burnt Gorse , there was more blue sky than grey cloud , and from there on , it was sunshine all the way . The first target species was found , with a few fly by specimens , and not long after , the first White-letter Hairstreak was found , but not everyone got a sighting of the individual . We picked up several more species , before moving on to the glade that I visited on Friday . Thankfully , the Canadian Golden Rod produced a single WLH , then two more were found on another stand of the plant . Everyone got a chance to get photos , and to make things even better , a mating pair of SWFs were found . They flew around for a while , then came to rest at about 3 mtrs up in a shrub . I managed to bend the branch down , giving head high photo opportunities . Eventually the pair flew off , alighting this time on the Canadian Golden Rod , which gave me a chance to get a shot . We visited several other glades , finishing up at the SWF's favourite ovipositing area , where the group witnessed the female ovipositing on the tree trunk , and finding several eggs after she had moved on .
After lunch , we had a walk around the Conservation fields on the other side of the road and managed to add a couple of species to the day's list . Also found was a very pristine female Rosell's Bush Cricket , identified as such by the pale margin to the side-flap of the pronotum and the large ovipositor , obscured by her leg .
We finished the visit back at the car park , and although Sm.Tortoiseshell , White Admiral and Marbled White were missing from the list , we still managed 22 species . Apart from those mentioned , a second brood Dingy Skipper on Burnt Gorse and several mating pairs of Gatekeeper were the highlights .