Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Tuesday 25th. June 2013

Just over a month ago , fellow enthusiast Martin and myself visited Abbotts Wood to see the Pearl Bordered Fritillary , and we were successful . On the way home that day we decided to try and complete the double with Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary , at another Sussex site . Quite often , the two are on the wing together , the PBF at the end of it's flight and the SPBF at the start of theirs . The weather on site was sunny and the temperature rising , but almost the whole site was covered in Bracken . Walking along the paths , a Painted Lady was seen nectaring on Buckthorn and a Red Admiral flew strongly through . Turning the refugia placed around , two female Adders (one
pictured)  and a large Grass Snake were found . There were also a few Black-tailed Skimmers around
and a female Broad-bodied Chaser was willing to pose . Martin extended his search to the surrounding area , and returned to tell me that he had found a SPBF there , but needless to say , when we got back , it had moved on . Another Painted Lady was seen and later , a speck of orange came speeding towards us , and stopped to nectar on Bramble flower , we had got our first target species ,
the Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary . As it had already warmed up , it was very mobile , and later we had one each when a second appeared briefly . We spent time following and photographing the remaining specimen until it too disappeared , but not before it showed it's underwing and those black
chevrons framing the seven 'pearls' , from which it takes it's name . Those chevrons are red on the PBF . Apart from a couple of Speckled Woods , the only other species seen was this female
Brimstone , pictured nectaring on Marsh Thistle , just before searching a Buckthorn for a suitable leaf , and then laying one before moving on . Just before leaving , two Cinnabar Moths were seen . We then moved on to the South Downs to search for late Burnt Orchid , as we had failed to find the early ones last month . I had to try and refind a site I visited many years ago , but memory isn't at it's best after many years and the habitat had changed so much too , but after much walking and
searching , we did find three specimens of Orchis ustulata , two pictured , another target found . The cloud started to build and the wind was quite strong , but we did manage to get our third target , the
Wall butterfly . A member of the Brown family and once a very common species , but has been lost
from many inland areas , and although found in coastal areas is still listed as scarce . Lots of Viper's
Bugloss (pictured) and Wild Thyme in flower , but very few butterflies nectaring on either except a
few Common Blues and a very fresh looking Small Tortoiseshell , which even at ground level was
being buffeted by the wind . Another Cinnabar Moth was also found before we moved on , but noy before we had a Clouded Yellow speed past whilst we were having lunch . Our third site was near Beachy Head , and the next target Frog Orchid . Once again it was down to my grey matter to get us into a gully , where I had seen them many years ago . It worked better this time , and
we were soon searching that gulley . Eventually about 20 specimens of this rare Orchid were found
and Martin topped it off by finding a Frog Orchid x Common-spotted Orchid hybrid . Well pleased , we started home , making a short stop at a high site on the way . We hoped to find more Wall , but
just one was seen . A male Yellowhammer called all the way up and down in front of us , and then got a bonus when a female Adonis Blue butterfly landed in the grass beside us . A nice finish to a
great day out .

1 comment:

Alan Pavey said...

A lovely selection again Greenie and as always a great read. Lots of things I would love to see there as well :-)