With the promise of sunshine , I set off for Denbies Hillside / Steers Field , overlooking Dorking , with two species in mind . Second brood Adonis Blue , having missed out on the first brood , and possibly Silver-studded Skipper , but realising I might be a bit early for the latter . Walking across from the car park , it was obvious that the wind would play a big part today , as it was blowing along the length of the site . Also found early on , and all through the visit was Clustered Bellflower/Campanula rotundifolia , always pleasing to the eye . Just before the gate onto the hillside , the first of many large groups of Chalkhill Blues , 13 in this group . Fortunately , they were covering what they were perched on , and I'll just say that the area is very popular with dog walkers . Over the whole site , the species were in their thousands , at times , the whole hillside dancing with their light blue colour . With so many around , it's no surprise that many mating pairs were found , too many to keep count of . No problem with numbers for next year then . Whilst looking for the target species , I found a nice stand of Harebells/Campanula glomerata , nodding in the strong wind . So small , not much higher than the grass , and so delicate as well . Also found were lots of one of my chalk grassland favourites , Eyebright/Euphrasia officinalis . By this time , I had caught sight of the very occasional Adonis Blue , but no sign of any Silver-spotted Skippers . Continuing my search I found a species that I haven't come across for a few years now , the Wasp Spider/Argiope bruennichi , an immigrant from the continent . This is the female , a good sized individual , and it's her colouring that gives it's common name , the male being much smaller and just brownish . The large numbers of Chalkhill Blues were reflected in her web , as she was eating one with two others wrapped and waiting , and the remains of at least another two on the ground below . From the other side of the web , the wrapped meal and her less coloured under body can be seen . Middle bottom of the shot is the zig-zag marking that all webs of this species display . The Silver-spotted Skipper eluded me all of the visit , but I finally managed to get a few shots of the other target , the Adonis Blue . Just a few males , with their vibrant pristine colour showing well in the sunshine . Could be confused with the Common Blue , of which there were a few on the wing , but the black lines crossing the outer white fringe , lacking in the Common Blue , is the determining factor .
With the temperature now in the mid 20s , I decided to have a quick look at a site near Gatwick Airport on my way back home , a site where I have found Brown Hairstreak in the past , but it wasn't to be today , probably a bit early here too . It wasn't a total waste though , as I did find White-legged Damselfly , a male , down by the small river , and not far away , a female Banded Demoiselle , and lastly , a tiny member of the Pea family , Hairy Tare/Vicia hirsuta .
And in case you were wondering , yes one of the mating pairs of Chalkhill Blues was only too happy to pose .
And finally , my last words on Saturday's post was to remember to go back to the roadside verge and collect seeds . As I drove past this morning , the Council workers were just tidying up after strimming the verge to within an inch of it's life .