Butterfly Hunt Oakhill Woods

Butterfly Hunt Oakhill Woods - Large Skipper on purple flower


I've grown to love Oakhill woods recently, not just because it is one of (if not the) best local site for watching butterflies lazily drifting down on the wing, or frantically fluttering from food plant to food plant, nor because it is surrounded on three sides by fields of golden wheat, the tall crops rustling in the wind and popping in the sunshine, but mainly because of the tranquillity.

There are few places in Milton Keynes where you cannot hear the dull rumble of one of the two main trunk roads that divide the new town, traffic from either the M1 or the A5 can usually be heard somewhere, the rumble of the engines or clunking of the wheels as people and goods are shipped around the country. But in this one tiny area, on the edge of the "city" seems to have, so far, remained immune from these sounds.

But today WAS about the butterflies, brilliant July sunshine warmed the day and I knew it would be a great butterfly day.


North Bucks Way


Near Grange Farm, along the North Bucks Way, on the border of Hazley Wood, there are a number of rough fields. Bursting with colourful wildflowers of rich yellows and delicate purples, and as I wandered through the first of these fields I flushed a small bird, my instinct was that it was a quail, but then as I looked for where it had flown to I flushed around 10 more birds. I genuinely have no idea what they are. Smaller than a partridge, straw and brown colours, with a quick flight, I don't know if pheasants can fly at a young age? and I do doubt there would be a covey of so many quail, but I am at a loss.

View from the North Bucks Way
View from the North Bucks Way


Butterfly Hunt Oakhill Woods


Heading into the woods the butterfly numbers began to build as Ringlets and Speckled woods danced above the weedy edges, spiralling up in pairs and trios. Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers flashed the orange patches of their wings as they flew from flower to flower, while the off Red Admiral, gently floated on wide wings over the bramble.

Gatekeeper
Gatekeeper


Along the grassy rides, accompanied today by the sounds of rowdy prisoners from behind the walls of the maximum security prison that the woods border, Large Whites seemed to be flying in good numbers while tiny Small Skippers weaved their way through the long grasses.

Peacock butterflies, perhaps the most underrated butterflies in the UK, a creature that should, arguably be up there with the most special butterflies in the world, sat spread winged on the ripening blackberries, and crinkle winged Comma's stabbed their long proboscis deep into the purple headed wildflowers.

Comma
Comma

Brimstone
Brimstone


Big Butterfly Count


It is that time of year again where butterfly fans and people who hold an interest in the natural world spend 15 minutes counting butterflies in random areas, yes the Big Butterfly Count. I thought I would stand in one spot and perform a count in these woods, the result was 10 species.

Red Admiral 3
Essex Skipper 1
Comma 3
Large Skipper 6
Small Skipper 6
Green Veined White 1
Large White 13
Ringlet 10
Gatekeeper 7
Meadow Brown 6

Shockingly as soon as the 15 mins were up a Silver Washed Fritilliary and a couple of Brown Argus appeared next to me.

Walking the Edges


Deciding to walk more of the woods than usual I headed off into the woods themselves, following one of the many paths that grid the woodland, as I walked, more butterflies appeared, Brown Argus butterflies kept to the edges, while more Silver Washed Fritilliary hawked high up in the canopy, or glided over the brambles. A lone Small Copper flew between daisies along the wheat lined edges, Small Tortoiseshells sunned themselves on various dappled glades. Even a Marbled White put in a brief appearance as it made its way through the woodland edge.


Brown Argus
Brown Argus

Small Copper
Small Copper

Small Skipper
Small Skipper


As I prepared to leave the woodlands a dark brown, almost black shape drifted down from the canopy above me, flashes of white on the wings marking the distinctive pattern of a White Admiral, only my second ever. I watched as with delicate flaps it moved through the undergrowth, never landing for more than a few moments and rarely below head height, before eventually it headed off high into teh canopy once more.

White Admiral
White Admiral


Complete Butterfly List


After walking more of the wood than I have ever walked before, heading through the centre to the wonderful wheat fields, I finished the day with 21 species of butterfly, an amazing haul of butterflies, the complete list is below.

White Admiral  1
Red Admiral 4
Marbled White 1
Small Copper 1
Brown Argus 6
Silver Washed Fritillary 3
Common Blue 1
Essex Skipper 1
Small Tortoiseshell 3
Comma 6
Brimstone 12
Large Skipper 12
Small Skipper 11
Speckled Wood 19
Peacock 5
Green Veined White 2
Small White 2
Large White 16
Ringlet 17
Gatekeeper 13
Meadow Brown 15

Other Photos


Views over Buckinghamshire
Views over Buckinghamshire

Ruddy Darter
Ruddy Darter

Small skipper top view
Small skipper top view

Worn Small Skipper
Worn Small Skipper

Bee
Bee

Hoverfly
Hoverfly

Unknown Fly sp.
Unknown Fly sp.

Myathropa florea
Myathropa florea

Purple Flowers

Whaddon Hall
Whaddon Hall

Whaddon Hall
Whaddon Hall

Wheat Fields
Wheat Fields

I'm Walking 2500 miles in 2017 to raise money for Birding For All - Read about it here - Please consider donating through My Donate

If you enjoyed this post, or found it useful, then please do share it with your friends using the links below


Please feel free to leave me a comment, I really appreciate the interaction and will reply as soon as I can. I apologise for any issues with posting comments, but sometimes Google's blogger platform plays up. ALL comments are moderated for SPAM, so please don't bother if the comment is unrelated to the post it will likely be deleted.

CONVERSATION

2 comments:

  1. That brimstone is so pretty. Nice post and pictures! :) Thanks for posting.

    ReplyDelete

Back
to top