With large patches of fleabane in full flower at the moment, I set off for Pevensey Levels yesterday to see what butterflies might be on the wing to take advantage of this rich nectar source. I was expecting to see a few fresh Painted Ladies about but I was disappointed to only see one tatty individual. However my heart leapt when I saw my first Clouded Yellow (Colias croceus) of the year. This species is a regular migrant to our shores, arriving from the european mainland in varying numbers during most years. Although small numbers arrive in April or May, the best time to see them is during August when any progeny from the spring arrivals emerge and are bolstered by further immigration from the near continent. In good years, a further emergence occurs in October.
Clouded Yellow (Colias croceus) (female)
Several male Walls were holding territories and constantly battling each other and a fresh looking female Speckled Wood rested amongst the reeds and nectared on the tiny flowerheads of grass.
Wall (Lasiommata megera) (male)
Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) (female)
Long-winged Conehead (Conocephalus discolor) (male)
The usual sight of a hunting Barn Owl (Tyto alba) is when they are seen quartering fields and levels but I watched this one working its way along a trackside hedge and occasionally going into the scrub to watch for potential prey on the ground below.
Many of our smaller moths are worthy of close inspection. The markings of the aptly named Maiden's Blush (Cyclophora punctaria) are both subtle and delicate. This fresh example was attracted to the moth-trap at home earlier in the week.