On Thursday morning I paid a brief visit to the ponds on Epsom Common where this fresh Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus) was flitting and briefly resting on the waterside vegetation. Not a great deal of avian activity but I did log Mallard (1), Moorhen (1), Grey Heron (2), Canada Geese (21) plus one Greylag Goose with a few Swallows and Swifts in the air.
An hour later after trudging right across Ashtead Common I joined a Butterfly Conservation walk under a very cloudy sky and with very little to catch our attention as we crossed the main meadow until someone spotted this Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) hiding deep in the grass.
A slow walk ascending one of the main open rides towards the wooded ridge produced good numbers of Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Large and Small Skippers and eventually a few high flying Purple Hairstreak plus our first sightings of Silver-washed Fritillary, White Admiral and Purple Emperor.
After our lunch stop another Painted Lady (above) was spotted and nearby I grabbed a shot (below) of one of many freshly emerged male Gatekeepers (Pyronia tithonus).
A totally unexpected find (below) was this Clouded Border (Lomaspilis marginata), a moth that is commonly found in woodland but is a night time flyer.
Other butterflies logged during this walk included Comma, Marbled White, Speckled Wood. Holly Blue, Red Admiral and (below) a Green-veined White (Pieris napi).
I was asked to navigate part of the walk along the ridge which took us through several sections of my regular transect and this ultimately provided us all with very close views (below) of a male Purple Emperor (Apatura iris) down on the ground. This was totally unexpected as it was 3 p.m. when you would normally expect to only see this species flying high above a favoured Oak tree. [You can just make out the purple sheen on the left hand wing that clearly distinguishes it from a female]
All in all an interesting walk and with more sunshine promised for later today I'll be hoping for a another decent list when I carry out this week's recording session. FAB.
Linking to Saturday's Critters hosted by Eileen.