Thursday 30 August 2012

a Red Admiral day

Red Admiral, Vanessa atalanta
This morning I started at Steyning but the weather was against Brown Hairstreaks - too cool and windy. I saw some fresh Red Admirals and a Holly Blue which did a fly-by while I was photographing one of them. I met Neil Hulme and Mark from Essex at the reserve. Later I joined Neil at Washington Chalk Pit which should be an interesting site next year. On the way home I stopped at Poling to fill in a blank tetrad on the Sussex Butterfly Atlas. I counted Small White 2, Speckled Wood 2, Red Admiral 4, Small Tortoiseshell 1 (the latter two on a buddleia).
Brimstone, Gonepteryx rhamni
Migrant Hawker, Aeshna mixta
Dor beetle, Geotrupes stercorarius
Red Admiral, Vanessa atalanta
a Holly Blue, Celastrina argiolus, has been caught in flight

Red Admiral, Vanessa atalanta
Common Carpet, Xanthorhoe montanata
Wall, Lasiommata megera
Washington Chalk Pits:

Cornflowers, Centaurea cyanus
I was surprised to see Colin Cowdrey's headstone. He was one of the cricketing heroes when I grew up.
Red Admiral, Vanessa atalanta

Wednesday 29 August 2012

Bumble bee and Speckled Wood

Buff-tailed bumblebee, Bombus terrestris in
Hedge Bindweed, Calystegia sepium 
Rain sent me home early today with just a Speckled Wood and a Bumble Bee. I have been trying photo techniques to follow the progress of the Comma pupa. It pupated between the 22 and 26th August. The adult butterfly should emerge about 2 weeks after pupation, so I expect some action around September 6. I hope to photograph the emergence.
Speckled Wood, Pararge aegeria
Comma pupa, Polygonia c-album

Tuesday 28 August 2012

A Painted Lady, mating Adonis and a Brown Hairstreak

Painted Lady, Cynthia cardui
This morning I did my Mill Hill transect and was delighted to see a Painted Lady and a mating pair of Adonis Blues. Other transect results:  Adonis Blue 201, female Brimstone 1, Meadow Brown 265, Peacock 1, Red Admiral 3, Small Heath 12, Small Tortoiseshell  1, Small White 1, Speckled Wood 1. I  then visited Steyning Downland and joined 8 other enthusiasts at the reserve where I found a Brown Hairstreak in reasonable condition.
Later note: Neil Hulme, Sussex butterfly expert, has pointed out that I have photographed two different Brown Hairstreaks below as shown by the orange flashes.
Mill Hill:
male Adonis Blue, Lysandra bellargus
male Adonis Blue, Lysandra bellargus
female Adonis Blue, Lysandra bellargus
female Adonis Blue, Lysandra bellargus
Adonis Blues mating, Lysandra bellargus

Kestrel, Falco tinnunculus
male Meadow Brown, Maniola jurtina
Hay making
Painted Lady, Cynthia cardui

periodically the Painted Lady landed on the ground, probably taking salts.

Peacock, Inachis io
Red Admiral, Vanessa atalanta
Red Admiral, Vanessa atalanta
Small White, Pieris rapae

Steyning Downland:
female Brown Hairstreak, Thecla betulae
There is a wide gap at the bottom of the orange bands in the individual below showing it is different from the one above.

the image below has been photoshopped to remove her wrinkles - she is a star after all!

Monday 27 August 2012

a walk on the west bank

This afternoon following a damp morning I ventured out and took the footpath  on the west bank of the River Arun by the golf course and across farmland. There was plenty of blackthorn and bullace, but little ash, but I will check for Brown Hairstreaks here on a sunny day. I walked back over the Arun by the footbridge by the Arun View, our favourite pub.

I noticed this magnificent specimen of the edible fungus 'Chicken of the woods'
Chicken of the woods, Laetiporus sulphureus
Endotricha flammealis
This small moth (20mm across) was on the wall of our flat

Fleabane, Pulicaria dysenterica
River Arun looking upstream
The Arun View
The boarded up Steam Packet, which used to be the Custom House

Mallow, Malva sylvestris
Russian Comfrey,
Symphytum asperum x officinale,
a hybrid of 2 species.
White Dead Nettle, Lamium album