Friday, 22 July 2016

Butterflies On The Mendip Hills

Date: 21/07/2016
Location: Mendips - 3 Sites
Weather: Started Warm, Broken Cloud, Ended Drizzle + Cloudy
Other Species: 
Marbled White, Small Skipper, Larger Skipper, Essex Skipper, Red Admiral, Small Heath, Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Green Veined White, Dark Green Fritillaries, Small Copper, Gatekeeper, European Peacock, Chalkhill Blue, Grayling, Common Blue, Small White, Comma - 18 Species 
Observation: 
With a hot tip on some Dark Green Fritillaries headed down on to the Mendips and within 10 mins spotted a couple plus many Marbled Whites and an assortment of Skippers Large, Small and Essex. Main target today were Dark Green Fritillaries, Chalkhill Blues and Grayling so 10 mins in was doing well! 

A great looking Small Copper, seen 2 at Priddy.


But Dark Green Fritillaries take the best butterfly award today ! 
Stunning things as are most Fritillaries..


Wouldn't really stay still as cloud was incoming and sun was disappearing.
But end total was 5.


Turned around and a stunning Emperor Dragonfly (Anax imperator) was perched up! 
Saw a few Dragonflies today Common Darters mostly. But the Emperor being one of UK's largest at 78mm or 3" is a monster!


On the damp ground there were many Green Veined Whites grouped together taking minerals from soil.


Always a bit of grass in the way but Marbled Whites mating. The Marbled Whites were the most abundant here.


Right next year tick, was the Chalkhill Blue so headed the 4 Miles to Draycott Sleights, very cloudy now! But on arriving seem to be only person there, soon spotted a few Chalkhill Blues around 10 or so mostly hiding in grass.


A few other things about, the Silver Y Moth, wonder why it's called that?


A few Stunning a very colourful Peacocks, the fly amazed and probably wished he was a bit more colorful!


Wandered up and down slopes hoping for a clear shot, did bump into some more people also looking but eventually managed a perched Chalkhill! 
Nice next tick was Crook Peak about 7 miles away, it's now raining mmmm not promising!


Rain sort of stopped on arriving, so headed up towards top of Crook's Peak scanning hillside for Grayling but now a bit windy also. Got 3/4 way up just as it flattened out and a Grayling!


One shot and flew! 
So hard to see their camo is amazing against the rock, although this shot he does stand out a bit, luckily!


20 mins of searching about to give up and spotted another with passenger! Trombidium breei the small parasite does not impair flight although a greater number of them can kill the Butterfly. Have seen them before mainly on Marbled Whites.
So 3 year ticks mission accomplished!! My year total now stands at 44 with 4 more to get this year being Clouded Yellow, Brown Hairstreak and Silver Spotted Skipper year ticks and Wood White (second brood) being a new tick.
 I hope to end year on 48. With 2017 being my 50th year my target is the big 59! :)


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