Sunday, 4 August 2013

August Butterflies

On Saturday, Colin and I were intending to head north and visit Arnside Knott for the late northern butterflies, but the weather forecast was basically wet so we changed our minds and did the Chilterns instead.
We went down to Warburg as I expected the Violet helleborines to be in flower. Rather unexpectedly, having arrived in the right part of the wood, the first thing we found was what seemed to be a Narrow Lipped in flower-I had assumed that they would be over. A lot of caged plants appeared to be blind and stunted, and some appeared to be White Helleborines with seed pods. Further on into the wood we eventually located a few Violets, far less than on our last visit and only one was flowering. A couple were in bud, but the rest looked like the buds had been burnt by the recent heat.

The other big problem in the area, which added to our confusion were plants that looked more like Broad Leaved Helleborines. Epipactis orchids are notoriously variable and it will take some time to study my images to be sure (maybe) of what we saw.
Few birds were encountered as it is still pretty quiet in our woodlands. We heard a couple of flyby Crossbills, one or two Nuthatches and there were also a pair of Ravens.
Butterflies were not numerous in quantity but we had 14 species in total-Essex and Small Skipper, Large Small and Green Veined White, Small Copper, Common Blue, Peacock, Silver washed Fritillary, Marbled White, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Small Heat and Ringlet.
Our next stop was Aston Rowant. As usual it was rather breezy but at least it was warm and the sun often came out. We managed to locate 17 species of butterfly-all of the above bar the Fritillary, but there were huge numbers of Silver Spotted Skippers, a few Large Skippers, Chalkhill Blues everywhere
and a tatty Small Tortoiseshell.
One nice bonus was the Humming Bird Hawk Moth though getting images was difficult as it never stopped moving among the flowers and grasses.

With the weather looking rather wet we decided to visit Butterfly World where the many exotic butterflies and moths were entertaining.
A tour of the grounds and gardens produced the three whites, Meadow Brown and Gatekeeper, Red Admirals, Peacocks and Tortoiseshells, my first Painted lady for a couple of years, a few Common Blues and a single Small Blue.

I will get round to posting some of the exotics later.

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