Tuesday, 30 May 2017


A weekend of winged wonders.  A trip to the in-laws on Saturday gave me a chance to scoot around the M25 a bit and have a look for Glanville Fritillary at Hutchinson's Bank.  An early start to beat the traffic meant that I was on site by 8am.  I quickly found a Small Blue roosting and as the sun warmed things up a few more butterflies took to the wing, predominantly Common Blues which looked freshly emerged.  To my surprise a dense bank of cloud moved in quite quickly and thunder rolled, rain fell hard and I took a break for breakfast.  After about an hour the storm moved through with brilliant blue skies behind.

As the morning progressed I found Small Blue to be abundant in several areas and having adjusted to their scale the Common Blues looked huge.  There are Grizzled Skippers on the site but I didn't manage to find this very discrete and zippy butterfly.  Dingy Skippers were far more obliging and sunned themselves at several spots usually seen off by Small Blues holding territory. 

I assumed that I would bump into a Glanville and after a very enjoyable time watching the comings and goings of the butterflies above I decided that I would need to work a bit harder.  I walked to the end of the reserve and poked my head around a hedge to see a chalky scar of land where topsoil had been removed and Ribwort Plantain was growing in clear clumps.  This looked a promising spot and within a couple of minutes I saw a Fritillary buzzing between plants, it showed well if briefly, and it was a cracker.

I walked around the rest of the plot, again assuming that I'd see more.  By the time I perambulated the field I was very pleased to see this one again, it was loyal to it's chosen corner, and didn't fly far and was to be the sole Fritillary I seen.  Having drunk it in I decided to make my way back and rejoin the family and the gathering clouds hastened my exit.  A fresh smattering of manure attracted the Small Blues and reminded me that we are not far of Emperor season now and in a months time Iris will beckon.  But first back to the Fen.

Sunday morning was bright and warm even at 5.30am when I left for Lakenheath Fen.  There were special birds to see but a great pleasure was watching the numerous early summer Dragons and Damsels alongside the rivers and ditches. 

Blue Tailed Damselfly (m)

Banded Demoiselle (m)

Banded Demoiselle (fm)

Four-spotted Chaser

Scarce Chaser (m)

Hairy Dragonfly (m)

Hairy Dragonfly (m)

Back in the garden this pair of Azure Damselflies are involved in the complex pre-mating contact, and ovipositing.   

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