On 4th July I was keen to connect with the Purple Emperor (Apatura iris) in the woods of the West Sussex/Surrey borders. We were off on holiday to Cumbria the following week and it was probably going to be my only chance to see this lovely insect this year.
However, I wasn't expecting to see second brood Wood White (Leptidea sinapis) on the wing quite so early in the month. This delicate member of the Pieridae family tends to flutter endlessly along the ride edges, just a couple of feet from the ground and seemingly never pausing for rest.
Wood White (Leptidea sinapis) (female)
Courtship in the Wood White is fascinating to watch. The male (right) sits head to head with the female and flicks his wings whilst caressing her with his antennae and proboscis. I have often seen this behaviour over the years but have yet to see it result in mating.
Wood White (L.sinapis) (male)
Purple Emperor (Apatura iris) (male)
Even a rather washed out male is a beauty to behold.
Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia) (male)
I took this photograph a couple of weeks earlier in an East Sussex wood.
The evening before my day with sinapis and iris, I was called out into the back garden where Carol had found a sub-adult Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) snuffling about on the lawn.
Last year, they nested underneath a hedge beside our garage and it was nice to see that they are probably doing so again this year.
At mid-morning, a couple of days later, Carol came across an adult in the back garden.
Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) (sub-adult)
Hedgehog (E.europaeus) (adult)