It is rare for me to walk anywhere locally where I don't have to negotiate a fence or gate and there is always the anticipation of what may be found on the other side.
The semi-shaded track (above) is one route that takes me steadily upwards onto the chalk slopes of the North Downs where I recently spent a few hours in the company of hundreds of delightful black and white butterflies, the Marbled White (Melanargia galathea).
With Common Knapweed everywhere it wasn't too difficult, even with a gusty wind, to find a few obliging subjects and a seat conveniently placed to rest the weary legs and admire the wild Orchids.
Earlier this week on a dull, muggy day I decided to wander around the tracks and pathways within Horton Country Park. There are lots of fences here bordering the horse paddocks where the polo ponies and other breeds spend their time chilling out in between being ridden by their owners.
On the far side of one of the paddocks I again found the resident Little Owl (below), just discernible with the naked eye, perched on top of a fence post. [N.B. Original image heavily cropped].
The main purpose of my visit was to see what might be flying or perched in a meadow just beyond another gate and I wasn't to be disappointed. Despite the lack of sunshine there were good numbers of the expected grassland butterfly species with a few others perched on the field boundary vegetation.
Clockwise from bottom left: Small Skipper, Speckled Wood, Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper and Comma.
Good numbers of the aptly named Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus) were spotted dancing unhurriedly around the field margins and gateways often jostling with each other to find a sunny perch on the bramble leaves.
While back at home the first of the lilies, Lilium 'Lady Alice' are starting to open up and the resident Robin watches from his preferred fence perch.
I'll be wandering the tracks around Ashtead Common today in the hope of catching up with some other species that might come in range of the lens. FAB.
Linking to Good Fences hosted by Theresa.