Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Bank Holiday Butterflies

A change of pace for the Bank Holiday, we went down to Hampshire for butterflies.
Initially we stopped off at Broughton Down not far from Middle Wallop. It was still a bit cool and I thought that the high chalk down would have warmed up a bit. We certainly got rather warm on the steep climb up to the ridge, and it was pretty amazing as the tracks and ridge were lined in Yew, many rather old and massive. Never seen so many in one place before.
Classic chalk flora though little was flowering apart from Milkwort, and a search for orchids failed to find any, i guess it is mainly late flowering species here. Butterflies were elusive at first, with a few Orange Tips and Brimstones, but eventually we located a few Grizzled Skippers.

Bentley Wood was our prime objective and we arrived just before noon. Unfortunately hazy cloud was starting to build up and there was a bit of a breeze as well. Despite this we found a large number of Pearl Bordered Frittilaries though most were very mobile and hard to photograph.

Had a few Brimstones again, and a nice Common Lizard was seen sunning itself on one of the small bridges. A bonus was seeing two displaying Tree Pipits, though again getting photos was rather hard.

With no Duke of Burgundies seen here today, though one or two had been reported recently so we went to Noar Hill.
We parked in a slightly different place on the western side and climbed the short track to find the hill covered in Cowslips and Early Purple Orchids. A couple of Burgundies were in the small quarry along with a couple of Dingy Skippers and we saw more of both as we explored the hill. No sign of any Green hairstreaks though by now it had got rather dull and windy.

We stopped off briefly at one of the quarries along Coppers Green Road near Hatfield. The Mandarin that are present had unfortunately been flushed shortly before we arrived. Bar Tail Godwit and Grey Plover had also been seen, but judging by the grid ref I obtained when we got home I believe that they were on a different pit

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