Friday, 12 July 2013

Friday 12th. July 2013

Tonight's  post was supposed to be all about the Purple Emperor butterfly , which one of the Keith's and I went to find at Dene Park , just a stones throw from Warren's Pittswood patch . The species has been seen in Sussex and also in Northamptonshire , very close to where the other Keith and myself went for the Black Hairstreak a couple of weekends ago . We arrived about 1045 confident that the cloud would clear before midday . It didn't . It was after 1300 before the first patches of blue were seen , then it quickly cleared . Whilst the cloud covered the sky , no butterflies were seen , but we went round the usual haunts of the Emperor , noticing en route that most of the Bramble along the rides and in the glades had been cut back to the ground , probably over the Winter , leaving very little flowering plants for butterflies to nectar on . Finding any interest proved difficult , but a few specimens were found ,
like this Green Oak Tortrix Moth , which proved difficult to photograph in the dull light and breeze ,
an unusually coloured spider , possibly a Harvestman sp. with just 6 legs instead of 8 ,
and the cast skin of a 6 legged insect , no not the spider Warren , all totally intact . By the time we sorted them out and chatted to passing dog owners , that clearance was starting to appear , and so were the butterflies . White Admirals were the most numerous seen on site , and it would appear that
they had only recently emerged , being in very good condition . Mostly males , they made short visits to remaining Bramble flowers , deep within an area of head high Bracken . Sometimes they came
down onto the ground to visit packages left by dogs and their owners on the side of the rides , but I managed to get an underwing shot just before this specimen reached it's objective , sparing the
reader . Back on the Bramble flowers , I was lucky enough to get the topwing and underwing of two
specimens on adjacent flowers . Often , a single specimen gave the same photographic opportunity .
Other species seen included , Red Admiral , Comma , Large Skipper , Speckled Wood , Meadow Brown and a possible Silver-washed Fritillary , but it was moving so fast that a positive identification was not possible . Oh yes , and not a single sighting of Purple Emperor , but a good reason for a return trip soon . In between sightings , I had a go at 'get the hoverfly in the viewfinder' , which proved hard work for the AF with woodland behind all the time , but later as the sun went round , was
able to get the hoverfly against the sky and give the AF a chance . Not sure what species the first one
was , but the second was Volucella pellucens , the one with the white cummerbund .


Warren Baker said...

Those White Admirals are spectacular greenie. You'd think just one or two might make the flight over to see me!

alan woodcock said...

Hi,nice photo`s of the butterflies,I`v only seen one in Kent (White Admiral).

Marc Heath said...

Nice to see good numbers of White Admiral Greenie. My cue to look in East Blean woods maybe tomorrow then.

Spock said...

The Purple Emperors are only just out, we had a couple flying among treetops at Sheepleas near Guildford on Tuesday. Did manage to photograph both Camberwell Beauty and Large Tortoiseshell today though.

Mike H said...


Sounds like your day at Dene Park mirrored mine from Tuesday. The only place I saw WA was stright up past the dog bin. I noticed they have also cut back the area around the bin where the damsels and dragons used to settle.