Sunday, 7 July 2013

High Brown Fritillary on Dartmoor

Aish Tor on the edge of Dartmoor in Devon is one of the South West's strongholds for the nationally rare High Brown Fritillary. The population here appeared very healthy as on this hot sunny day we encountered well over forty butterflies, most in pristine condition. Several mating pairs were observed as well as females ovipositing in the undergrowth hopefully ensuring next years generation. Good numbers of their close relative the Dark Green Fritillary were also on the wing causing a little confusion at times but it seemed that the majority of identifiable views were of High Browns. Great news for the future of this beautiful and rare butterfly.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Red Admiral caterpillar makes it's protective tent

I discovered a Red Admiral caterpillar just starting to make it's protective tent by fastening two Nettle leaves together with silk. It's not often you actually see this process as it happens, so i decided to film the event. The speed of the film has been increased x4. The caterpillar took just ten minutes to complete the structure.......Incredible!

Monday, 1 July 2013

A trip to Oxford to see Black Hairstreaks.

Kate and I embarked on a four and a half hour drive to Oxfordshire is search of a butterfly that I have always wanted to see, the Black Hairstreak. On arrival at Bernwood Forest car park we met up with our friends Adam Hartley from Oxford and Paul Browning a fellow butterfly NUT from Helston who stopped off  while on his way home from another butterfly expedition in northern England.

Black Hairstreaks are one of Britain's rarest butterflies. Reportedly they declined by 98% last year, a very worrying statistic if it is to be believed. So if we were ever going to see them in Britain, now seemed to be the perfect time. The weather was perfect and several hairstreaks had been seen earlier in the week.

At the 'quiet and tranquil' M40 compensation area of bernwood forest, the population appeared to be holding it's own with well over 20 adults observed flying around the large areas of Blackthorn.. 'their larval food plant' situated just yards from the busy M40 motorway. We were fortunate to witness and film this female ovipositing hopefully ensuring a healthy population next year.

I must give a BIG THANK YOU to Adam who very kindly gave impeccable directions to the wood and then led us 'Kate. Paul Browning and myself' to the very difficult to find M40 compensation area where we were treated to fantastic views of these magical Hairstreaks........Great company...... Great butterflies what more could you want.......Happy Days!!!

Adam runs his own very interesting blog, which you can visit here