A Walk Amongst Butterflies

A Walk Amongst Butterflies - Red Admiral feeding on Lavender
A Walk Amongst Butterflies

We have just had the two hottest days of the year, back to back, and let me be honest with you here, with temperatures hot enough to soften the black, sticky, tarmac on the local roads, a slightly chubby (I’m being polite here) lad like me often finds himself melting like the ice lollies I wish I was eating.

Today however the heat had dropped off a little and the warmth was as pleasant as you could like without it being too hot to walk, and without the humidity that sees me “glistening” the second I make any kind of physical movement.

And so it was that today I headed out onto the patch for a walk amongst the butterflies, dragonflies and birds of a British summers day.

A Walk Amongst Butterflies

Now my usual walks have been slightly disrupted of late as I “try to catch the all”, yes I have fallen fowl of the Pokemon Go craze, well my name is Ash and I did spend many hours trying to catch them in the original Nintendo games as well as watching the cartoons on hungover weekends of my youth. I now of course plan my patch walks to take in a couple of Pokestops and gyms, but thankfully that doesn’t take me too far off my usual wanderings.

With that confession out of the way I will get on with the post as usual.

There is currently a buddleja coming into bloom beside the church in Old Wolverton and my first stop of the day saw me chasing a large hoverfly around trying to capture the perfect (diagnostically) photo of the huge Syrphiadae.

Volucella Zonaria
Volucella Zonaria

 

Volucella Zonaria
Volucella Zonaria

From there I headed through the old church yard and into the old Lock area where the butterflies suddenly became the order of the day.

Butterflies Everywhere.

It soon became obvious that I was going to struggle to count all the butterflies I’d see today. Within moments of entering the old lock area there were Meadow Browns and Large Whites fluttering everywhere (I was well into double figures of both within 5 mins!). These were joined by the odd Gatekeeper, Ringlet, Small White, Green-veined white and Red Admiral.

Gatekeeper
Gatekeeper

The odd Brimstone, was joined by tiny Small Skippers; 1 or 2 Large Skippers in amongst them; and my first Essex Skipper of the year; briefly put in an appearance.

Every so often the whir of a huge dragonflies wings would startle out of the weeds as a Brown Hawker would burst out and fly rapidly away from me. Smaller Common Blue damselflies and the occasional Banded Demoiselle would join them on the wing; but it was the butterflies that were stealing the show.

Hawkers and Skimmers

The Wildflowers are slowly coming into bloom all over the patch and while walking through these I was pleased to be able to watch my fist Southern Hawker of the year as it patrolled over the purple flowers, hunting smaller insects to feast upon. Below more Meadow Browns we hiding in among the tall grass, fluttering in-between the tall, yellow stalks of the meadow.

Further into the nature reserve grasshoppers and crickets, sang out from their hiding places deep within the thick scrub, their legs rubbing together like a bow on a violin, calling out a tune better than any orchestra. Purple spikes of Marsh Woundwort stood out proud above the thistles and nettles and more odes and butterflies could be seen all over.

Marsh Woundwort
Marsh Woundwort

On the growing areas of mud an early migrating Green Sandpiper quickly worked its way along the waters edge. Fighting its way past young Lapwing and a lone Common Snipe. Overhead screeching Common Terns and returning Black-headed Gulls called out as they past.

Green Sandpiper
Green Sandpiper

 

Green Sandpiper & Common Snipe
Green Sandpiper & Common Snipe

Over the water swarms of Black-tailed Skimmer could be seen picking off midges and bugs while Grey Heron and Little Egret stabbed at passing fish. A gaggle of Canada geese, flew low over the muddy water, honking as they went, and I realised just what a special place the reserve is becoming.

Canada Geese in Flight
Canada Geese in Flight

 

Canada Geese in Flight
Canada Geese in Flight

A Walk Amongst Butterflies Photos

As I wandered along the spongey black path, small clouds of butterflies would rise out of the scrubby hedges. Mainly Small Skipper (with the odd Essex Skipper added in) and Meadow Browns.

Small Skipper
Top view of a Small Skipper

 

Small Skipper
Small Skipper

 

Meadow Brown
Meadow Brown Butterfly

 

Small Tortoiseshell
Small Tortoiseshell feeding

 

Small Skipper
Feeding Small Skipper

 

Essex Skipper
Essex Skipper

 

Essex Skipper
Essex Skipper showing the  stunning black under its antenna

 

Essex Skipper
Feeding Essex Skipper

 

Essex Skipper
Essex Skipper

 

Small Skipper
Small Skipper

 

Helophilus Sp. (potentially Hybridus)
Helophilus Sp. (potentially Hybridus)

Leaving the site there is a large patch of lavender that borders the entrance road to the farm office buildings, I love to spend a few moments here after each walk, taking in the wonderful, heady scent and the visual of this mass of purple. Occasionally inter mixed with the buzz of multiple species of bee you can spot Rosemary Leaf Beetles or, like today, some stunning large butterflies. Today there were a couple of beautiful Red Admirals posing wonderfully in the sunshine.

Red Admiral
Face on Red Admiral

 

Red Admiral
Red Admiral

 

Red Admiral
Stunning underwing of a Red Admiral

 

Red Admiral
Top Photo: Red Admiral

Not A Walk Amongst Butterflies Photos

I haven’t posted my last walk (or anything in July so far, not that I have done much). so here are a few from my recent wanderings.

Moorhen
Moorhen

 

Moorhen
Moorhen

 

Large Skipper
Large Skipper

 

Large Skipper
Large Skipper

 

Green Woodpecker
Green Woodpecker

 

Young Little Ringed Plover
Young Little Ringed Plover

 

Young Little Ringed Plover
Young Little Ringed Plover

 

Blue-Tailed Damselfly
Blue-Tailed Damselfly

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8 Replies to “A Walk Amongst Butterflies

    1. Thanks, it seems really late for them this year doesn't it, but that couple of days heat made all the difference (well for the Meadow Browns and Small Skippers anyway).

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