Catching up with a few recent visits :
The High Elms butterfly transect improved somewhat with 13 species being recorded . The highlight was a brief sighting of a very clean Tortoiseshell butterfly on the top rail of the 5 bar gate on Burnt Gorse . When I spotted it , it was wings open and four things stood out , the size , noticeably larger than a Small , the colour , rusty red unlike the vibrant red of the Small , no white markings on the forewing and four black spots on the forewing . Without taking my eyes off the butterfly , I slowly raised my camera . Half way to my eye , it snapped it's wings shut and at shoulder level it took off like an Exocet missile , clearing the surrounding tall trees in no time . I stood there cursing my luck that I had just missed a shot of either a Scarce / Yellow-Legged or Large Tortoiseshell . The few seconds I had , I wasn't able to be more specific . It still hurts now as my only other sighting was about 10 years ago up on the Common , and that was a tatty individual , but I did get 2 shots before that one disappeared . A couple of visits since failed to get another sighting .
The next four hours I spent wondering around Ranscombe Farm at Cuxton , a Plant Life Reserve .
Just a few of the plant species seen were ;
3 hours ago