During the past week I have made three separate forays onto different parts of Ashtead Common and on each occasion whilst the temperature was more or less favourable the strong breezes and cloudy skies have conspired against me seeing and getting photos of some of the expected species. Nevertheless here are images of some of the species seen.
Large Skipper (Ochlodes venata). Of the three Skipper species this one is the easiest to find and identify and has been the most common on my transect walks from late June to date.
However the Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris) has so far been less obvious than the same period last year and I have yet to find and clearly identify its close relative the Essex Skipper on my transect visits.
This mating pair of Small Skipper were spotted during a walk that I led for the local branch of Butterfly Conservation on Thursday when a total of 17 species was recorded including many Purple Hairstreak and Purple Emperor (c20) flying high above the Oak canopies. One Purple Emperor tantalisingly fluttered around a few of us at head height for a few minutes but failed to land!
Small White (Pieris rapae).
Comma (Polygonia c-album).
Red Admiral(Vanessa atalanta).
The most numerous species both on my woodland transect and other walks on the common at the moment is the Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus) which is happy to fly providing there is a little warmth even on the dullest of days.
The BC walk on Thursday also provided my first local sighting of a fresh male Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus).
Finally this Beautiful Demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo) below was seen as I wandered alongside the stream on my return to the car and was certainly aware of my presence.