Friday, 4 July 2014

Skipping Along

The buddleia is out and there's been a small invasion of Red Admirals out side my mothing conservatory 
There's no plant better at attracting the best known group of garden butterflies, Red Admirals, Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshells and Painted Ladies, and there's no plant easier to grow.

Red Admiral

other butterflies, like this beautiful Marbled White (a member of the Browns not whites!) need more specialised plants to thrive, and the chalk grassland along the cliff top at Bockhill is just right. There are a couple colonies between the monument and hope point and at the moment they're at there freshest, and can be seen on the top of Knapweed flowers and occasionally one of the Pyramidal Orchids that have done so well this year.

 There are plenty of Skippers around at the moment ant the test is to get a good enough view to separate the Small Skippers from The Essex Skippers. They are very similar, but the black tips to the underside of the antennae distinguish the Essex Skippers. I think the one above is a Small, although both occur in the area.


Large Skippers are much easier, they are of course a bit larger and they have a sort of faint chequered pattern on the wings as opposed to the very pain wings of the other two.

There are a lot of Burnet moths around at the moment and those that I saw seemed to be Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnets, not the better known Six-spot, that may be around a little later.

As I walked along the cliffs, just down from the monument this Herring Gull was calling continuously circling above my head. I didn't take much notice as I was looking at the butterflies at ground level.

I was pretty surprised when there was a loud swoosh as it dived just above my head. A stunt it repeated several times until I'd moved on about 50 m. I can only assume it had a young one concealed just over the cliff top.
There were a lot more Large Skippers as I walked along, often chasing each other or any other butterflies that entered their air space. This one's sharing its landing strip with a Meadow Brown.

This is a female Meadow Brown, the males lack the orange patches on the fore-wing.

We've been getting several Badgers coming to feed, but two seem to be the most regular.

This one and the picture above is the little female that's been visiting all year, although we're yet to see her with any offspring.
This is a smallish male, and I've mentioned him before, He's got one ear more or less missing, although how this happened is unknown. He's also pretty beaten up on his hindquarters, with a rather tatty top to his tail, perhaps due to fighting. He is the boldest when it comes to food. A couple of times I've heard a thump on the window, either when I'm late putting the peanuts out, or if he's a bit late and an earlier visitor has already eaten them. Tonight I was watching the news when I heard a bump and he was there. I opened the door and refilled the plate and although he did back away while I did filled it up he was only about o foot behind the plate. The other day I forgot to close up my conservatory early and when I went out to do it he was in their opening op the box with the sparrows fat balls in it. That was before it was very dark, so I need to be a bit more careful.

1 comment:

Dean Ashby said...

Beautiful skipper shots