Saturday, 21 July 2012

Chalkhills Blues, Alice Holt and Abbots Wood

Chalkhill Blues mating, Lysandra coridon, blue male

On Thursday I left early to catch the Chalkhill Blues at Kithurst Hill. I arrived at 7am and found roosting Marbled Whites and Chalkhill Blues. At 8am the Chalkhills started opening their wings. Before long the meadow was heaving with them. Just before I left I found a mating pair on the bank. There were Meadow Browns and a huge Large White.

I then travelled to Alice Holt near Farnham for the first time. This Forestry Commission facility has plenty of family orientated attractions, including zip-wires allowing a trip through the tree canopy. I didn't find many butterflies walking through the woods, just Meadow Browns and a Speckled Wood. 

Nearby Abbots Wood was more fruitful when I found a flowery glade with many thistles. Marbled Whites, Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns and Large and Small Skippers greeted me. A flash of orange led me to a male Silver-washed Fritillary nectaring on thistles. Two Commas fought occasionally. Then an aerial display by a mating pair of Silver-washed Fritillaries entertained me for a few minutes. After flying round the glade several times 4 meters high they landed in a tree and then kept flying and settling in the canopy. Later a female Silver-washed Fritillary nectared on the thistles. 
Chalkhill Blue, male, Lysandra coridon

Chalkhill Blues mating, Lysandra coridon
female on left

Chalkhill Blue, female, Lysandra coridon

Alice Holt:
Meadow Brown, Maniola jurtina
Abbots Wood:
Gatekeeper, Pyronia tithonus
Comma, Polygonia c-album

Meadow Brown, Maniola jurtina
Meadow Brown, Maniola jurtina
Silver-washed Fritillaries mating, Argynnis paphia
male Silver-washed Fritillary, Argynnis paphia
female Silver-washed Fritillary, Argynnis paphia
female Silver-washed Fritillary, Argynnis paphia

White stonecrop, Sedum album
White stonecrop, Sedum album

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