This morning I decided to search for Silver-spotted Skippers. It’s getting a bit late but I visited Chantry Hill, north of Arundel. I found the tumuli and a warm bowl which should have been ideal for them but found none. There were plenty of Small Heaths and Argus Browns, a Red Admiral and a Brimstone. I then went on to Kithurst Hill car park and the meadow there gave me Adonis Blues, Argus Browns, Common Blues, Speckled Woods, Large and Small Whites and Brimstones. There were some impressive clouds and views from the Chantry Hill.
Yesterday I attended a dig at Framfield, East Sussex at . It was dry until I returned to the car at , then the heavens opened. The pickings in the stubble fields were sparse considering that over 100 attended.
The FLO recorded an Elizabeth I sixpence, a couple of other coins and tokens, a piece of Roman pottery and a few other pieces. I found a 1918 penny, a George II/III halfpenny which had no recognisable marks and a button with ‘buttons limited’ on the back. This company was formed in 1907 when several of the largest button companies merged.
This morning I arrived at Steyning Rifle Range again at . Other Brown Hairstreak fans arrived steadily after that. The BHs were mostly damaged. Sherie found one male on the ground which although very worn and damaged enabled me to get close-ups. On Saturday the BHs started appearing by 10:30, today the first was seen at 11:40 and only half the number were seen during the day. In spite of a clear sky there was a cold north wind which must have made it difficult for the butterflies to warm up. Apart from the Speckled Woods, most of the butterflies I photographed were worn and damaged.
female Brown Hairstreak
male Brown Hairstreak underside
male BH worn and torn
female BH and below
The Brown Hairstreak is one of Britain's rarest butterflies. It seems to be found in Sussex wherever there are blackthorn, sloe or other prunus to lay on and ash nearby to roost on.
Yesterday was the first clear sunny day since the Brown Hairstreaks starting hatching a month ago. I arrived at the Steyning path at 1O:15 and Neil's Butterfly Conservation group of about 60 was gathering. I arrived on site at with Roger and we found a few enthusiasts were already gathered around a Brown Hairstreak. The early morning sun must have warmed them up early and with the recent bad weather the females were wasting no time getting out and about to lay their eggs. By the time Neil's horde arrived we had a BH ready for them to inspect and the BH Fest had started. By the time I left at 3:15 Neil twelve had been sighted, including two males. Males usually stay high in the trees to mate.
female Brown Hairstreak
male Brown Hairstreak
view towards Steyning
Butterflies that I saw during the day: A worn male Wall, Brown Argus, male and female Brown Hairstreak, Common Blue, Comma, Speckled Wood, a mating pair of Small Heaths, Small Copper, Small and Large Whites, Meadow browns, Peacock and male Brimstone.