Sunday, 8 May 2016

Dragons & Pearls

This week has seen our best weather so far this year with plenty of blue skies and temperatures getting up into the high teens and low twenties. You would be right to think that it would be excellent weather for getting out and about but I spent the week re-laying my worn out driveway with the help of a friend (he supplied the expertise and I acted as his ageing labourer). I managed to 'ping' a muscle in my side early on in proceedings and by the week-end I was literally aching to get out into the field for some butterfly therapy.
On Saturday morning the moth trap produced a couple of interesting specimens apart from the usual Orthosia species. The Twenty-plume Moth is no bigger than a finger-nail but has wings that look like they are made of feathers. It is always pleasing to find any of the Drepanidae family amongst the mornings catch, with their beautiful hook-tip wings. 
Twenty-plume Moth (Alucita hexadactyla)  

Scalloped Hook-tip (Falcaria lacertinaria) (male)

At 4pm. on Saturday afternoon, Carol and I were walking in a local wood to see how the emergence of the Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Boloria euphrosyne) was progressing. This is one beautiful butterfly to watch as the males patrol low over the foliage in search of freshly emerged females to mate with. The natural population died out in this wood during the 1990's but the species was re-introduced a few years ago using stock from a West Sussex population. To the casual observer, the name of this species appears meaningless until you get a good view of the underwings and the name begins to make sense!

Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Boloria euphrosyne) (male) 

The same butterfly showing its pearl border.

The songs of several Nightingales enriched the soul. A Green Hairstreak and a few Grizzled Skippers were also seen as well as my first Hairy Dragonfly of the year. The Hairstreak and Skippers were too busy to be photographed but the Hairy Hawker rested on a couple of occasions.

Hairy Dragonfly (Brachytron pratense) (male)

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