Friday, 24 July 2015

Butterflies and more...

Yesterday, a 'spur of the moment' decision found me heading to Fermyn Wood Country Park and nearby woodland in search of butterflies.

I didn't think that I would find time to visit the area this year, but I grabbed a few hours when the opportunity arose. I took my two young dogs with me and kept my fingers crossed that they wouldn't accidentally trample on the butterflies and embarrass me, but thankfully they behaved and all butterflies remained intact !

Initially it was quite cloudy but just after midday the sun came out and the butterflies and insects erupted in a frenzy of colour and activity.  I don't think that I have ever seen so many Silver-washed Fritillaries, they were absolutely stunning.  At times it was easy to count 10+ on the Blackberry flowers. 

There seemed to be a profusion of Blackberry flowers which attracted large numbers of butterflies including Comma, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Large White, White Admiral and Ringlet.
A few Purple Hairstreak were found flitting about at the top of the Oak trees and a couple of White Letter Hairstreak were visible in an Elm hedge.

Although I hoped to see Purple Emperor I thought that I had left it too late in the season, so I was very pleased to find 4 individuals. I came across a superb male sitting on the track, but as I prepared to take a photograph a family of Fallow Deer chose that moment to cross the track, which one of the dogs found interesting , which meant I was momentarily distracted. When I turned back to take my photograph the Purple Emperor was nowhere to be seen !

Birds took second place, but I did see approx 10 Crossbills, several family parties of Jays, and good numbers of Red Kites which were both very vocal and acrobatic above the trees.



Silver-washed Fritillary

Female Silver-washed Fritillary
of the form 'Valezina'.
Thanks to Doug Goddard for
confirming this identification.

Large White

Peacock butterfly

White Admiral


Tor to the left and Smeagol to the right!

Fallow Deer

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