Sunday, 27 May 2012

Sunday 27th. May 2012

In an attempt to beat the heat , I set off early back to Hutchinson's Bank , in the hope that more Small Blues had emerged , and to get better photos . As I parked , the car thermometer was reading 18C , so I didn't win that one . Much of the grassy areas were still in shadow and wet , but the first butterflies
were just getting up , like this very fresh female Common Blue . In keeping with most of the blue family , the female is brown with a varying dusting of blue . I checked the triangle first , finding just Dingy Skippers , but noticed a butterfly land on the bridleway . It turned out to be my first Painted

Lady of the year . It looked absolutely exhausted an rested for a while , before heading for the side of
the bridleway , where it seemed to find from minerals , no doubt from a passing animal . Failing at the triangle , I went to look at the cut , another hotspot for Small Blues . Within seconds , a specimen
flew past me and landed a little way in front , and I was sure there were more to be found . In fact this was the only one found , and it wasn't till a later look at the triangle that I found my second and final specimen . I followed it for some time waiting for it to rest and open it's wings . Eventually , it
did as asked , but only for a couple of seconds , then it was off again . Trying to follow these tiny butterflies is almost impossible , and I didn't see it again . Other species seen on the visit included
several Brimstones , this female was resting between laying her eggs . Still several male and the odd
female Orange Tip , this male refuelling at Herb Robert before setting off again . At least 3 female
Holly Blues , all looking for Ivy to lay their eggs , but having to use Cornus / Dogwood . I also recorded my first Brown Argus of the year , a tiny , very fresh male , identified as such by the fact
that the orange spots on the topwings do not reach the leading edge of the forewing , as they do in the female , and the blueing on the abdomen and topwing . A single Green Hairstreak , several Grizzled Skippers , and many Small Heath , together with Large , Small and Green-veined White were also seen . A couple of new , to me , hoverflies were also found . I think they are -
a newly emerged , from the wings , Syrphus vitripennis ,
and Meredon equestris , but I stand to be corrected on either .
Before getting out of the sun , I watched a pair of mining bees bringing materials to their nest hole .
Here the bee arrives with the material , pointing towards 2 o'clock ,
and there it goes down the hole . I'm going to leave it there , as this post has taken for ever to upload .


Phil said...

Great to see some butterflies at last Greenie. Saw very few in Scotland despite the weather. Looking forward to getting on patch and back to normal in the morning.

Marianne said...

Lovely set of butterfly pics. I think female Common Blues like that one with a strong blue suffusion are so beautiful.

ShySongbird said...

Lovely photos Greenie and an interesting post again. Very useful information on the Brown Argus. Lovely to see the Painted Lady, I wonder if it will be a good year for them.

Spock said...

I have missed you Greenie on your visits to Hutchinsons Bank, The Small Blues havnt reached a peak, only one or two so far, and none on the last 2 transect walks. We had 280 on the transect last year. I saw a Painted Lady in the same spot May 22nd feeding on the clumps of Garlic Mustard. I was on Chapel Bank looking at the Orchids when you were onsite last Friday, We are still waiting to see if the Glanvilles have survived from last year. 15 were seen last May & June, 7 on transect.

We have a guided butterfly walk on Hutchinsons Bank & Chapel Bank on Sunday 3rd, 11am Farleigh Dean Crescent.

details from myself,

Anonymous said...

The bee looks like Osmia bicolor, a species that nests in empty smail shells and then hides them with twigs.