As I set off this morning , I wondered if it would take one , two or three sites to find the elusive Brown Hairstreak . My first stop was at the site of one of the railway lines that was axed by a certain Dr. , many years ago . Now known as the Downs Link , and still lined with Blackthorn bushes , I arrived at what would have been the forecourt in brilliant sunshine . No sooner had I got out of the car , a Bullfinch flew over calling , and perched some distance away . I reached for the camera and moved forward , quite expecting the bird to fly off before I took a few steps , but it didn't . I got as close as I could , and after some preening , the bird even came more out into the open , as if wanting me to take a shot in all it's glory . But , I had other species on my mind , and set off searching the Blackthorn bushes along the way . On the sunny side of the track , the temperature was already around 20C. , but very few butterflies were seen . Even a large area of Common Fleabane/Pulicaria dysenterica , reputedly loved by butterflies , failed to attract a single specimen . A lot of walking later , not a single sighting of a BH , and just the odd Common Blue , Sm.Copper , Meadow Brown and Gatekeeper were seen . In a small garden near the coach that houses a display of the golden years of the old line , I got distracted by two , maybe three Hornets that were trying to make a meal from the many insects feeding on the flowers . I was amazed by the ease that the smaller insects evaded the attempts of the Hornets , and consequently , how much effort the Hornets were putting into attempting to catch their meals . Also in the garden , Evening Primrose/Oenothera biennis , and a fruit tree that is not seen much these days ,
Medlar . After over three hours without a sighting , I set off for my second site , still with the weather holding , but with the minus of being quite noisy . More searching of Blackthorn , along the banks of a small river . Whilst in a small glade , along the bank , I met a couple out walking . They asked what I was photographing , and when I said butterflies , they told me that they had just joined Butterfly Conservation . We chatted butterflies , and just as they were about to go on their way , a small orangey butterfly flitted down and landed on some Bramble fruits . A quick look and it was camera out . I got just four shots , and it was off again . I never saw the topwing , but I think this pristine specimen was a female . The couple left well happy having seen their first BH . Carrying on searching , I came across this tiny yellow and black Ladybird . It is a 22-spot Ladybird/Psyllobora 22-punctata . Also found feeding on the umbellifers was the large hoverfly Volucella zonaria . Before long , the wind picked up and that brought in the cloud , but short bright periods still managed to shine through , and it was in one of these , as I was making my way back to the car , when I saw what I thought was a moth landing on a stand of Creeping Thistle . A closer look confirmed that it was in fact a second BH , this one quite worn , and after this one being chased off by a wasp , a possible third specimen arrived a few minutes later . This one had it's own way of dealing with the wind , whilst it nectared on the flower heads . Just before leaving the Thistles , I noticed a fly that reminder me in colour of the ground beetles found yesterday , black and orange . I've had a quick look at some images , and am leaning towards the family Tachinidae , the family that Rob/The Living Isle , has been doubling up on in a recent post . Any other suggestions would be appreciated .
Tomorrow , Dormice and Reptile Survey , up on the Greensand Ridge , with guest surveyor , Phil/Sharp by Nature .