Monday, 20 August 2012

Tortoiseshells thrive on farmland

Small Tortoiseshell, Aglais urticae
Yesterday morning I noticed a small buddleia on the edge of a field. As I approached I saw a Small Tortoiseshell nectaring, then another, and another. When I stood by the buddleia and allowed them to settle I was able to count 13 Small Tortoiseshells, and there were probably more out of view. Every time cloud obscured the sun they flew to the crops in the next field, then came back when the sun reappeared. A Red Admiral, a Peacock and a Comma nectared on the same bush. The Tortoiseshells varied in size from about 4cm to normal. I then visited Steyning Downland and saw Neil's followers toiling up the hill, so I headed for the bottom reserve. At 1:45pm I was rewarded with a female Brown Hairstreak landing in front of me. She opened her wings so I could see the orange bands, climbed down the blackthorn twig and flew off. I attempted to follow from perch to perch, but she had a tumble with a Meadow Brown and when they broke off I followed the wrong combatant. A lovely sight while it lasted. There were a few Wall about.
Comma, Polygonia c-album

Small Tortoiseshell, Aglais urticae

Five in this photo

Steyning Downland:

Meadow Brown, female, Maniola jurtina
Marjoram, Origanum vulgare
view towards Steyning
Wall, Lasiommata megera
Wall, Lasiommata megera
Wall, Lasiommata megera
id needed for this larva

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