Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Dark Green Fritillary, Marbled White, Small Heath, A Bee Orchid, And Mr Froggy Moves In To Our Pond

We had an outing today, me and a couple of mates from college. We went to one of our local chalk downlands to see what we could see. And we saw, as it turned out, Quite A Lot. Some things, indeed, that I have never seen before, which was Exciting.

First off, nectaring on some thistles near the car-park, this beautiful Dark Green Fritillary....





Then, a Small Heath higher up on the down....These flutters are really quite small so you can't confuse them with Meadow Browns (which we also saw) as easily as I'd thought...


Next, a couple of 6-Spot Burnett Moths.... (the 5-spots only have one dot at the base of the wing instead of two)....



Then a Tattered And Torn Common Blue who looked as if it had been the victim of a Bird Attack...


After the Blue, we saw lots of Marbled Whites....I LOVE these little flutters and it took me AGES to get these shots, a process not entirely dissimilar to the one I described for you yesterday relating to woodpeckers, although outside today of course. Fortunately, my companions (Dave and Harv) were happy to study all the plants, moths and flutters while I chased various Marbled Whites up and down the hills....I got there in the end. Worth it, don't you think? I always feel that these flutters look very exotic for a British Butterfly....
 



The Large Skips were out on the hill in force today too. I also saw them on my morning walk out with the doggies through the woods and fields earlier (along with Yellow Hammers who were extremely busy asking for a little bit of bread and some chee-eese all the time...that's what their call is supposed to sound like, in case you haven't heard it before and think I've gone completely off my rocker....)


Now, is this, or is this not, a Brown Argus? What d'you think? I'm saying yes, with some hesitation because I'm not convinced it isn't a female Common Blue. It seemed too small to be a Common Blue....


Finally, we rounded a corner and old Eagle Eyes (Dave, who'd also spotted a very faded Dingy Skipper and a Mother Shipton moth), noticed this beautiful Bee Orchid blooming solitary on the hillside. I've never seen a Bee Orchid before (well, I have, but in books, you understand), so I was OVER THE MOON to see this one and took lots of photos, which I have whittled down to two...



 You can see how they got their name, I hope?

And talking of bees, as we neared the end of our walk, Dave spotted this Cuckoo Bee, another species I hadn't seen before. It is a brood parasite, taking over the nest of a Bumble Bee :-( Rather pretty though...



I didn't think the day could get any better, having spent two hours wandering across flower-and-flutter-rich chalk downland seeing all sorts of amazing creatures (and it is my absolute favourite landscape, apart from ancient woodlands of course), but then when I came home and went to visit the newts in our pond, who did I find but this beautiful person splashing about enjoying himself in the water....


A Common Frog in the pond is great news, although maybe not for my ma and sis who are both frog-phobic..... I'll have to not tell them.... :-)

So all in all a smashing day with lots of wonderful creatures to enjoy looking at......and tomorrow I'm off to survey woodcock in the dark which should be fun :-)

Hope you're all having a lovely day too?

CT :-)

18 comments:

  1. What a lovely day with great Butterflies, you are soooooo lucky to see so many different types and great photos, collage finishes next week and I only have to work the mornings so hoping to get out a little further than the park. Fingers crossed I might get to see some Butterflies..
    The Hedeghog was back in the garden last night around nine so we all managed to see it, will show photos soon..
    Amanda xx

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    1. The habitat on the hill is superb- it's well managed by the National Trust with a fantastic range of chalk downland plants which makes all the difference.
      I really envy you your hedgehog- such fantastic creatures. I will look forward to seeing your pics and good luck for the end of term and more flutterby hunting time :-) xx

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  2. After weeks and weeks and even more weeks of looking carefully AT LAST the tadpoles in our little sink pond have some teeny weeny legs.
    Love your butterfly photos, wish we saw more here, but big arable fields all around us don't do much to encourage them, we try on our bit but we need to try harder.

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    1. Hoorah for the tadpoles! Soon be teeny weeny frogs. I am hoping for tadpoles in our pond next year...

      The flutters need corridors to link suitable habitats (like open rides through woodland and wild margins to fields). If these are lacking in the big arable fields around you that is probably why you aren't getting many, even if your patch has all the right plants growing in it. I wonder if you could persuade local farmers to leave a strip round the edges of their fields for insects? Easier said than done sometimes, but would be worth a conversation.

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  3. Wow, we have very few butterflies at the moment apart from the Meadow Browns which have all started appearing and a few Swallowtails (not mine yet!). Maybe it's the horrible strong wind we've had the last 4 days. I haven't even see a Marbled White yet and that Fritillary is gorgeous! I wonder where my nearest chalk downland is? ;-)

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    1. Saw Meadow Browns today all over the hill and while I was out with the dogs- they've appeared in the last few days here. I'd love to see a Swallowtail. It is the start of fritillary season here- we get Silver Washed in our local woodland. I can't wait to see them again :-)

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  4. What a lovely way to spend a day, not only do you see wonderful moths, you see beautiful butterflies too!! The Blues are gorgeous and the Marbled White is lovely.
    xx

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    1. I did feel pretty spoilt when I got home and looked back through all the pics... :-)

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  5. Lovely photos - you are so fortunate to live close enough to chalk downland to visit - I have to rely on a once a year "fix" when we're on holiday!! Love the Marbled Whites I've only ever seen them on the Isle of Wight.

    Not sure about the Brown Argus/female Common Blue - I've always relied on telling the difference by looking at underside. Not easy when they never keep still!!

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    1. The Chalk is only a few miles down the lane... I saw more Marbled Whites at a different site this morning- they must be fresh out this week I would think.
      I'm pretty sure it's a Brown Argus, just because it was quite tiny. Will have to go back and hope to see it again and get a better diagnostic shot!

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  6. I do enjoy the lovely butterflies, which we have many varieties in the garden. We have and always have planted flowers to attract them, so am most happy to see the lovely variety in your post. OK, so Mr. Frog seems quite content - that is great and you know he has a wonderful summer home. We have green garter snakes, which just pass on through to the darker, cooler side of the yard, where we placed lots of rocks for them to summer. They do not skitter and hide, but will actually let you pick them up and there are lots of little bugs n such for them to be content. Have a wonderful time surveying Woodcock in the dark - now, that sounds like a "Countryside Tale" indeed. ha,ha Cheers

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    1. Well now, I have learnt something from you today- I had to look up garter snakes because we don't have them here. How fantastic to get them so close you can handle them. I understand they eat frogs.... :-0 Better keep my one here! x

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  7. The orchid is amazing!! It really does look just like a bee landed on the flower doesn't it. How great, I can understand why you were so excited to spot it. xx

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    1. It is a stunner isn't it? And only one growing on the entire site... xx

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  8. Flutter heaven! What a lovely day out. The orchid is divine. I haven't been out and about so much this week, as Honey has been poorly with an abscess on her eye. Even so, you are clearly very eagle eyed. I only noticed what flits in front of me.
    Leanne xx

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    1. Thanks Leanne :-) There was certainly plenty to see. Hope Honey's eye improves x

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  9. Fabulous shots CT! I've never seen a bee orchid either. Very envious. Don't forget Poppy - I'm gagging to get my pencils onto her! xx

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    1. Thanks Em :-) Picture sorting next on my ever-increasing list... :-) xx

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x