Monday 10 August 2015

Butterfly Day

A glorious sunny day yesterday, so naturally I headed for the butterfly-haunted Surrey hills, in hope that the Chalkhill Blues would be flying. I was not disappointed: these pale beauties (as a child I used to think the chalk of the hills had given them their colour) were flying in their hundreds, maybe thousands - almost what you might call, at risk of causing offence, a swarm. No, more a liberal spangling of the grasslands and flowery verges with flying, nectaring, sparring and basking Chalkhills. Several times I saw Chalkhill Blues and Brimstones together feeding on Wild Pea flowers, something I'd never seen before - I wouldn't have thought the Chalkhill's proboscis was long enough to reach the pea flower's nectar... No Adonis Blues this time - perhaps a little early - but a memorable highlight: looking down from the path to check out a low-growing Buddleia at a little distance, I spotted something quite large and showy working its way round a flowerhead. It was hidden for some while, but then it reappeared and, after a short while, flew off - and I realised it was a slightly faded Dark Green Fritillary, the spectacular, strong-flying downland frit, and the first I've seen in several years. The high point of a fine butterfly day.

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