Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Grayling Festival at Windover Hill

Grayling, Hipparchia semele

This morning Windover Hill beckoned after reading that the Grayling were out. A wonderful walk from the car park along the South Downs Way gives great views. The many Chalkhill Blues fluttering around give the walk a surreal feel. 
  As soon as I arrived on the side of the Grayling valley I saw one flying and gliding with its distinctive V wing shape. There were many light coloured Dark Green Fritillaries on the hillside. This was the best year I have had for photographing the Graylings. They landed on stumps of bushes and leaves and stayed put while I put a camera in their faces - amazing. It must be the heat and light wind. 
  I met Steve, and while we talked a Grayling landed on his shorts. Jim was also patrolling the hillside. None of us saw a Silver-spotted Skipper, they should be out soon. A Grayling flew around me, landed on my hand and took salts from my sweat. It then flew off and landed on my shoulder. A wonderful experience!
  I also saw Marbled Whites, Small Whites, a Red Admiral and Meadow Browns. The Yellow Pearl moth, Mecyna flavalis, was plentiful This rare moth inhabits chalk habitat in Southern England.
Grayling, Hipparchia semele
Grayling on Steve's shorts
Grayling on a leaf

Grayling with flash

eyespot goes up briefly when threatened
taking salts from my hand

Grayling, Hipparchia semele. This unfortunate specimen is malformed
Cockchafer, Melolontha melolontha
Cockchafer, Melolontha melolontha
I didn't see this mating pair until I looked at the photo. So that's what he was looking for in  the vegetation.
Round-headed Rampion, Phyteuma orbiculare
Six-spot Burnet, Zygaena filipendulae
Small White, Pieris rapae
Yellow Pearl moth, Mecyna flavalis


  1. Superb shot of the Grayling on the stump Colin. Difficult to get this species with 'clear air' behind it. Must go up myeslf soon!
    BWs, Neil


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