Uncle Bulgaria (who makes regular appearances here under the Blog Name of The Butterfly Whisperer, but is also occasionally known as Uncle Dave and now as Uncle Bulgaria after M corrupted Uncle Dave to a Womble-Themed term of endearment - I'm afraid our house is that Bonkers, and Dave doesn't even know yet, although of course he will do if he reads this) and I spent the morning searching for these most beautiful butterflies beneath cloudy skies in gusty wind conditions up on Broughton Down.
Not ideal Flutter Weather and the male Adonis stayed firmly away with ne'er a flash of their extraordinary blue to be seen. However, Uncle B thought he might have glimpsed a female Adonis and when I got home and sorted through the pictures I think he might be right. It's all to do with under wing spots and broken or unbroken wing fringes. My head is hurting after picking through all the pics with flutter book in one hand and a chocolate biscuit to steady the nerves in the other trying to label everything correctly.
If I am right (and I'll happily be corrected) this is the Lady In Question, and the sole representative of the species on show today....
There were plenty of other small flying people about, which was rather a treat. Here they are for your delectation, starting with the Common Blues (blue for a boy, brown for a girl, although as you'll see, one of the Mrs CBs is blue/brown, a variation known as mariscolore which is very common in Scotland and Ireland apparently...).
Next up the Brown Argus Brigade (both sexes are brown, the girls have orange dots all the way up their upper wings, the boys' peter out before that...)
Then the Chalkhills (boys are blue, girls brown, with both sexes having a broken white fringe on the under wing that distinguishes them from Common Blues whose fringe is unbroken, but makes them similar to Adonis, from whom they can be told by the colour of the pale crescents under the spots on the upper side of the wing, which are blue in Adonis and white in Chalkhill. Are you exhausted yet? I know I am....)
D'you mind if we get off Blue butterflies now? Before my head explodes.
Here are some Skippers instead, mightily lovely and FAR easier to tell apart, thank God :o)
First up, the Very Rare (although you wouldn't have thought it today- we were tripping over them) Silver Spotted Skipper. Would you believe that last summer I didn't get a single picture of one of these? This summer, I have about thirty :o)
I think the top pic is a boy and the second one a girl as they seem to be darker. SS Skips are Chalk Downland flutters and as such are only found in a handful of sites here in the UK, which mark the Northernmost reach of their range and we are extremely fortunate to have such a strong colony nearby.
There were five rather ancient, faded and doddery Dark Green Fritillaries fluttering about in the wind...
As well as several Whites (this one Large)...
And a couple of Small Heaths (widespread but rare, as their grassland homes are quickly destroyed by aggressive management)...
We looked in vain for Clouded Yellows but found none. I am beginning to wonder whether I will ever get a photograph of that species :o)
I'll leave you with some shots taken around the Down and wish you all a pleasant afternoon.