Friday, 27 July 2012

Chalkhills and Common Blues in touch

female Common Blue, Polyommatus icarus

Early this morning I took Sue to Kithurst Hill to experience the flower meadow. The Chalkhill Blues in the meadow were basking with open wings and flew off as soon as they detected movement from many yards away.  The bank was still in shadow and roosting butterflies were easier to get close to.
  After returning home for an hour I decided to explore the local area and walked a path on the west bank of the Arun, following a public footpath in a circle. I was looking for elms and White-letter Hairstreaks which are known to have been present in the past. I found three stands of English Elm, the last mixed in with Wych Elm, but didn’t spot any hairstreaks. They may be around, but I didn’t stop too long at each site. There were Red Admirals, Speckled Woods, a Comma, 2 Holly Blues, Gatekeepers and Large and Small Whites along the route. Near the end I came across a promising area of grass and flowers and a search proved very fruitful as a pair of mating Common Blues appeared in front of me. A Small Skipper also appeared plus more Gatekeepers.  A pair of Kestrels shrieked as they hunted and sadly I found a dead Sparrowhawk at the side of a field.

Kithurst Hill (also known as Springhead):
Marbled White, Melanargia galathea
Meadow Brown, Maniola jurtina
female Chalkhill Blue, Lysandra coridon
female Chalkhill Blue, Lysandra coridon

male Chalkhill Blue, Lysandra coridon
aberrant male Chalkhill Blue, Lysandra coridon

male Chalkhill Blue, Lysandra coridon
male Chalkhill Blue, Lysandra coridon

West of mouth of River Arun:
Common Blues mating, Polyommatus icarus
male on right
male on left

Common Blues after mating, male on left
male Common Blue, Polyommatus icarus

English Elm, Ulmus procera
Wych Elm, Ulmus glabra
Kestrel, Falco tinnunculus
Sparrowhawk, Accipiter nisus

Mallow, Malva sylvestris
Common Carpet moth, Epirrhoe alternata
Speckled Wood, Pararge aegeria

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