Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Copper load of this

I'm so sorry, there's no excuse for that pun (except that all the other titles for this post that I could think of were even worse puns). OK, May Day bank holiday, sunny day, North Downs (but only for a short visit because I had a ton of other, boring things to do). It was quite breezy up there and butterfly-watching was difficult.

This was the best I could manage of a Grizzled Skipper. These have been out for a while now and aren't looking quite as fresh-out-of-the-box as the more numerous Dingy Skippers.

The Hawthorn is properly out now and looking lovely. There was a Garden Warbler singing very enthusiastically from one of them, and a Whitethroat was songflighting from another. At the far end of the reserve I heard the rattle of a Lesser Whitethroat.

The reptile search was almost unsuccessful, a couple of mini Slow-worms the sum total of the day's sightings. An earlier start would help here. But my vigil around the 'big clump' at the far end delivered the Green Hairstreak goods.

While waiting for the hairstreak, I managed a shoddy photo of a lovely Silver-ground Carpet moth.

And another of this weird little thing, which I later IDed as the treehopper Centrotus cornutus, a 'true bug' with impressive thoracic horns and slightly sinister wide-spaced eyes.

There were a lot of Brimstones around. The females were busy visiting buckthorn and laying eggs on it, in between fending off the many amorous males which by now surely stand little chance of finding an unmated female. This male was having a rest, displaying rather battered wings for a Brimmie (they are probably the most sturdily built of all our butterflies).

A stunning Small Copper waylaid me on the return trail, looking absolutely incandescent when viewed against the light. It also posed like a star, staying put while I lay down beside it for some eye-to-eye photos.

The Dingy Skippers are out in good numbers, and were being their usual playfully annoying selves, posing until the hapless photographer had slowly sunk into a kneeling pose for a close shot, then skipping away. I managed both of these pics on the little path that runs alongside the bottom edge of the reserve.

Sycamore leaves. Just liked them.

And a green-eyed cranefly. The butterfly day count ended on nine species, with Large White, Orange-tip, Peacock and Speckled Wood joining those already mentioned.


Phil said...

All good stuff Marianne. That tree hopper is a nice little specimen. No Green Hairstreaks or Skippers for me yet, feels like I'm slipping a bit on the butterfly front so far this season.
As for the pun, well, we all groan but we like them really!

Graham Canny said...

Sounds like a lovely day out, M! Love the photos, especially the Skippers!

Warren Baker said...

Never seen a grizzled or Dingy skipper Marianne. The Small Coppers are great aren't they, flying around looking like red hot coals!