Thursday, 18 August 2016

Moths and Butterflies

Tuesday August 16

Natural Surroundings Moth day. Always enjoyable when we can add to the occasion. We got up extra early to process our own overnight trap, potting four to take in with us. A Pale Prominent because we're catching at least one regularly and they don't appear at either Cley or here. 
A Magpie has turned up but this was our first for the year, far too flighty to risk anything other than an 'in the pot' shot.

 One of the others caused much debate, Greg's original prognosis later changed to a Lesser-spotted Pinion by Andrew, Richard and Greg - after much book comparison. Great, new for our garden and a lifer for us and several others.

The others were: a Maiden's Blush, which looked very unlike the Lewington drawing (the dark rear wing splodges ) 

and a Mottled Beauty, small enough to be a Micro but it's a Macro.

Greg brought in a lovely Bordered Pug.

 After the usual drink and chat, Pam and I drove to Warham Camp. A muggy and rather windy day which needed patience to see anything perched or flying. The sheltered, hedge-lined track on the way in had Small Copper and Meadow Brown. I photographed a female of the latter species.

The end gate was padlocked, I had to heave myself over a stile, my knees do not like the high steps required.
When we reached what I call the inner moat, I sat to survey the scene whilst Pam climbed down into the moat. Someone waved at me... it was Judy D and four others doing their annual butterfly survey of the site for the Butterfly Association. They'd only found 200 Chalkhill Blues compared with 2,000 in 2015 and 7,000 in 2014. A big crash. It is an introduced and isolated species at its most northerly range with no prospect of fresh genes.

I joined Pam in the moat, walking a narrow path through a beautiful array of wild flowers.

We probably saw eight males and a female Chalkhill Blue, which led me a merry dance, as I was armed with my bridge camera only. A long lens where one can spy from a distance is better. It's a very small butterfly and all the species we saw were heavily worn and damaged this late in the season.

One Common Blue, even smaller and much brighter, allowed me one shot before it did its butterfly dance, an apparently aimless, wafting and rapid direction- changing wind assisted swoop and glide across the moat's walls before finding the 'right' flower. A tremendous waste of energy but mesmerising to witness.

A most enjoyable day.

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