Wednesday 6 July 2016


I spent yesterday afternoon - the sun having decisively come out, at last - taking a butterfly walk in the Surrey hills. I don't think I've ever known such a year for Marbled Whites - they were everywhere, too numerous to count, and a joy to see after so many damp, dismal, butterflyless days. The Ringlets too are having another great year, outnumbering the Meadow Browns (so far), and Speckled Woods continue to thrive. Small Heaths galore were flying, with Skippers Large and Small, and the odd Common Blue (the Blue resurgence is yet to come, with second broods and Chalkhills).
 What I was hoping to see, however, was the spectacular grassland specialist the Dark Green Fritillary - and I was rewarded by seeing one closer than I had ever experienced before. He (I think it was a male) suddenly appeared from nowhere, landed on a thistle a couple of yards away from me, paused just long enough for me to identify him, and then was off again, dashing away up the slope above and disappearing from view - these are strong fast fliers, very powerful. I think I might have seen a couple more, but only as speeding silhouettes hurtling away into the distance.
 Sunny again today. Summer seems to be back on track - hurrah!

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