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Thursday 27 June 2013

Small heath, Common blue, Small tortoiseshell and Painted lady butterflies on Chanctonbury Hill today.

Chanctonbury Hill is a lovely hill to climb.  And the orchids and butterflies on the western slopes were stunning this afternoon.
Common Spotted-orchids were... rather common and very beautiful.

A Small heath butterfly.
A Painted lady, just flown in from the continent -- the first that I had seen this year.

A Small tortoiseshell.

A Common blue butterfly.

Above is an exquisite white form of the Common Spotted-orchid.

Wednesday 26 June 2013

Common blue, Small heath (?), Wall Butterflies & Mother Shipton, a day-flying moth on Mount Caburn, 25th June 2013

It was a sunny day yesterday and lovely to see butterflies again, above a Common blue on Mount Caburn, which I walked before heading off to Friston forest to see White helleborines.

A Small heath (?)

A Wall butterfly above.
A Marbled white butterfly, I thought.  Evidently not, it seems and I am grateful for a correction by Neil Hulme who states "Good to meet you yesterday, [27th June] amongst the Tortoiseshells and Ladies. I’ve had a look at your excellent blog and particularly at the entry for your recent walk on Caburn. It looks as if Bevendean Down might again take the record for first Marbled White of the year, as your image is of something else ... equally interesting. This is the underside of the Mother Shipton, a day-flying moth found over unimproved grassland in Sussex. Named after the old hag, the pattern on the upper side of the forewings does seem to show the silhouette of a witch, and should not be looked at by sensitive children!"
Many thanks Neil for your correction.  It was a great pleasure to meet you yesterday.
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Above and below is a moth, which looks like a Grass-veneer moth.  There were lots of those.
While I ate my lunch on the hillside a Fritillary butterfly zoomed past -- too fast to identify further and flying away into the distance in seconds.  Later in Friston forest were a few Speckled wood butterflies. 

Tuesday 25 June 2013

White Helleborines in Friston forest today

There was such a wonderful display of White Helleborines today under the Beech wood canopy of Friston forest.

Thursday 20 June 2013

Southern Marsh-orchids in Surrey today

This is an amazing site -- a man made pond sporting a host of Southern Marsh-orchids.

Monday 17 June 2013

Broad-bodied Chaser Dragonfly corpse consumed by newts and pond skaters.

There was a feeding frenzy in the pond, so I took a closer look.
 Newts had already consumed the abdomen of a Broad-bodied Chaser Dragonfly and were tucking into the thorax.

Pond skaters were sucking the juices from what remained.

Yum, yum!

Above is a mature male Broad-bodied Chaser Dragonfly, which was flying around the pond as its kinsman was being devoured.  Waste not want not is nature's way.

Fly Orchids on the South Downs yesterday

It takes more than one pair of eyes to spot these tiny orchids.

Saturday 15 June 2013

Seven native Orchids blooming today on the South Downs.

White Helleborines, above are beautiful now, outstripped perhaps in their elegance only by Butterfly Orchids below.

Fragrant Orchids are just beginning to open.  Their scent is divine and is definitely something to be sniffed at.

Common-spotted Orchids are opening as well -- above a white variant with almost no spots.
The other species seen were Common Twayblades, Early-purple Orchids and a Fly Orchid, which had sadly been trampled.
This walk was generously supported by Stephen and Angela who bid for it in a charity auction organised by the Cuckfield Society to raise funds for playground equipment in the village.

Sunday 9 June 2013

Fly Orchids, Butterfly Orchids, Common-spotted Orchids, Twayblades & Early-purple Orchids on the South Downs today.

A Fly Orchid is above with a Butterfly Orchid out of focus in the background.  The location was too shaded and the weather too overcast to get a better shot today.
This one is a little clearer.

Another Butterfly Orchid on its own.

Common-spotted Orchids, above with a Twayblade, are just starting to open.

Another few days and the wild strawberries will be delicious.
A Butterfly Orchid with Twayblades.

A White Helleborine.
Some Twayblades.
What fun to be up in the hills today, despite the 30mph gusts from a cold northerly wind, which made photography a challenge.  I had to anticipate a lull in the wind and press the shutter when one hoped that the flower might stop waving around.  A few such attempts gave reasonable results under the circumstances.

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