Monday, 11 July 2011
A day trip to Bentley Wood near Salisbury, Wiltshire, in search of butterflies. Steve Rogers and I left Truro at 5.30am, the weather was perfect so the day promised to be "Butterfly Heaven". Our target species was of-course the enigmatic Purple Emperor, which is not always guaranteed. On our arrival at 9.00am we encountered countless Siver-washed Fritillaries and good numbers of White Admirals and a Purple Hairstreak or two, just in the car park. Further afield we came across hundreds of Ringlets, a few Dark Green Frits, Brimstones, Marbled Whites, Silver-washed Frits were everywhere, including the rare female form Valezina, yet more White Admirals, Small and Large Skippers and a couple of White-letter Hairstreaks another of the impressive Bentley Wood cast. Fortunately we stumbled into a small group of fellow enthusiasts who had just found a female Purple Emperor sitting on a leaf. After a short while she flew off, straight past me and around a corner. I TOOK OFF in HOT PERSUIT keeping my eyes on it at all times. She appeared to land low down on a Hazel bush, but as I rounded the corner I noticed her on the ground beside a puddle where she stayed for several minutes giving us all superb views. Later in the day I saw a male flying along one of the many tracks, but he refused to land and dissapeared over the trees. On returning to the puddles we found two more females one of which stayed for about half an hour. Photographers took full advantage and rattled off to their hearts content. All in all if you want a memorable butterflying day out, you can't go wrong at Bentley Wood in July.