Friday, 10 July 2015

Friday Flutters

My week started on Monday with a wander around the chalk hillside above Juniper Bottom in fairly windy conditions where hundreds of Marble Whites (Melanargia galathea) were flitting hither and thither.

On Tuesday I attended a Butterfly Conservation field trip to Sheepleas; comprising a mosaic of ancient and recent woodland, scrub and open grassland; lying on the chalk slopes of the North Downs. 

A nettle rich field produced good views of many species including Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae). It was interesting to note that many individuals looked a lot smaller than normal.



A sunny glade in the woodland produced our best sightings of Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia) with several males perched on umbillifers ...

... followed by a slightly more distant view of a mating pair, with the much darker coloured female above the male.
During this walk I logged 13 species including, after a long wait due to very gusty winds and intermittent showers, a high tree top view of a Purple Emperor.



On Thursday morning I made a brief check of the wildlife around the ponds on my local birding patch at Epsom Common and managed to get my first record shot of a Downy Emerald (Cordulia aenea) perched in the shaded vegetation above the water.




On my way back to the car park to join another Butterfly Conservation walk I recorded my first sighting of a Purple Emperor at this site (see my previous post "A Purple Day"), initially perched with its wings closed on a post before moving onto the ground to seek out some nutrients.


Purple Emperor (Apatura iris).

After everyone spent time enjoying the close views of the Purple Emperor we had a very pleasant two hour stroll around Epsom Common led by Alison Gilry, another transect recorder, enabling me to add Marbled White and Purple Hairstreak to my patch list sightings for this year.

Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus)

Purple Hairstreak
After a lunch break three other butterfly enthusiasts joined me on my weekly transect walk on nearby Ashtead Common. 

Having those extra pairs of eyes and experience certainly helped with identification including an unexpected further sighting of two male Purple Emperor and a Purple Hairstreak (Neozephyrus quercus) both too far away for the lens so I have inserted a shot of the latter species taken last year.


Once again the transect produced sightings of eleven species; Small Skipper (4), Small/Essex Skipper (3), Large Skipper (3), Large White (1), Purple Hairstreak (2), White Admiral (3), Purple Emperor (2), Comma (2), Silver-washed Fritillary (1), Speckled Wood (2), Marbled White (1), Gatekeeper (5), Meadow Brown (41) and the most numerous was Ringlet (53).  FAB.

Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus).

Linking to:
Saturday's Critters hosted by Eileen and  
Nature Notes hosted by Michelle.

18 comments:

  1. WOW Frank. A lot of beautiful butterflies images in this post. Have a lovely weekend.

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  2. Hello Frank, gorgeous collection of butterfly. Lovely images. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy weekend!

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  3. what beautiful butterflies!! I don't see butterflies much anymore and I am sad about that. I guess I am too high up on the third floor like I am for them to flit by.

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  4. Fantastic shots Frank and so many that I've not seen. I need to go a bit further afield to find some different species. Love Purple Emperor.

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  5. Beauties; every one of them.

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  6. These are just wonderful. I am in awe both of the variety and of your skill in capturing them digitally before they flutter away. Thank you for working to save them!

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  7. So pretty! I especially like the third shot.

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  8. I have to send this link to a blogger friend in New Hampshire...we were just discussing the lack of butterflies around the last few years .Beautiful! :)

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  9. Great shots, Frank. Lovely assortment of butterflies!
    ~

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  10. Amazing butterflies! What a wonderful variety you saw and were able to capture! I love the macro shots too.

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  11. Beauty butterfly's. Love them all. Great close ups.

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  12. stunning images, so many different kinds .. super beautiful
    greetings Frank

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  13. Gorgeous photos of all the butterflies!

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  14. Some superb species Frank, you seem to have some great spots for butterflys.
    Great stuff.

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  15. Interesting variety of butterflies and I love these critters.

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  16. Oh how... I have not seen that many species in a season or perhaps my life list too. I wonder why some were smaller than normal? I always love a nature question to research.... Michelle

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