Return to Hod Hill.... Lepidoptera's Revenge

As you may recall a few weeks back I tootled off to trundle around Hod Hill on a quest for a) Bee Orchids, and b) Butterflies. It turns out I was too early for bee orchids (doh, plonker!) but the butterfly part of the trip was pretty good.

Oh, whilst I think....this is a marathon, not a sprint, so probably prepare your next meal before you continue, and bring snacks and drinks, and maybe a cushion or two, or maybe a duvet.

In preview, if I have ID'd them correctly, I took multiple photo's of 17 different species of moth and butterfly this morning, plus some other bits and pieces, so, as I said, it's a marathon not a sprint..... don't look so worried, I have omitted the vast majority of the pictures :o)

To get to Hod Hill proper, you park in a little car park, and walk up a steep field (today with added sheep) to the entry gate

I decided as it was a "bug hunt" type trip to start with my smaller lens (after having to switch to it last time I was here) but to take the other lenses just in case. As I climbed the field I disturbed one of those little grey moths always present in long grass... no idea what they are called!

1

2 Then to my surprise, given our distance from any meaningful water

3 and then almost adjacent a glint of red caught my eye in the early morning (ish) sunshine

I don't know which species either is, but I was just pleased to have my "spotters eye" in so early in the trip lol

4 Approaching the gate I spotted a bee

5 And then the first of the butterflies, probably a Meadow Brown, but I'm never certain as they have many variations

As I went through the gate onto Hod Hill a spotted a raggedy Red Admiral

6 Followed swiftly by another Meadow Brown, more traditionally marked this time.

7 A pair of Common Blues were next, both slightly rough around the edges!

8

9 A Gatekeeper

10 Slightly distant Ringlet

11 More Meadow Brown

12 More rough looking butterflies....Small Coppers

13 A Holly Blue?

14 Meadow Brown, with another colour variation (these are getting worse than bleedin Variable Damsels!!)

Anyone know what the red bit is on this one? (And if it's common, because I either photo'd the same one at then end of the walk, or two of them have the same thing!)

3/4 of a Gatekeeper

A shiny blue tail with a snackette!

16 Common Blue

20 Gatekeeper

21 Small Copper

22 and again

23 Now here's a test...is the underwing actually bluish, or is it reflected from the flower?

There were a myriad grasshoppers/crickets chirruping away, all morning, and some played hide and seek

And one of Nige's favourites, a Red Bummed Bee.... sounds like a depressed communist!

24 Common Blue

25 Small (I think) Skipper

26 another Meadow brown variant

27 Small White

28 Large White

29 Gatekeeper

30 Marble White

31 Five Spot Burnet?

32 Small Copper

33

Common Blue

Another of the Cricket-y type thingies

34 It didn't land, and these are the clearest two shots, possibly another Burnet Moth?

35 Brown Argus (wild speculation because of the hint of orange on the far wing!!)

36 Some type of moth, with a magnificently long proboscis!!

37 Brimstone

38 x-Spot Burnet

39 Another variation, this time of Common Blue

About halfway down one of the ramparts (Hod Hill is an iron age hill fort) were several buddleah(sp?) shrubs, but one seemed particularly attractive, as there were numerous whites and peacocks adorning its flowers

I basically just walked a big circle round one of the ramparts, but the more central areas had several smatterings of birdlife, Meadow Pipits, Skylarks, Blackbirds, Goldfinches to name a few (that I wasn't quick enough to photograph) But I spotted a bird fly from the ground along in front of me to one of the stubby little trees that grow at the top of the fort. I went into full ninja stealth mode, and promptly stepped on a twig that snapped, but luckily didn't cause the bird to fly further away. I snapped as I neared, and was pleased to get within about 20 yards...

After it flew off, imaging my surprise when one of the branches started moving un-naturally.... Not what I expected to see!!

As I moved round to the final quarter of the fort (don't worry, we're well passed 3/4 of the pics!!) there was a slightly tatty Marble White

And it's nice to see bee's and moths can share

Absolutely no idea what's going on here, is it one? two? Is it love or lunch? I got confused trying to count the legs too!!

Not sure if this was one of the same yellowhammers, but it was a fair way from the tree they were in, and it was contact calling to one high in a tree the next rampart in

Now, the biggest surprise of the day (except for the sheer number of species) was this next chap, who seemed oblivious of me, because he ran toward me, so much so that I had to un-zoom my lens by about half, to keep him from overflowing the frame!!

Whilst he was prancing about in front of me, the yellowhammer had moved a couple of fence posts further along

And then at the gate back to the field, the last species, a green veined white

Thank you for persevering, and I hope you enjoyed my ramblings and meanderings.

Stay Safe All

  • 'Course we did PB, super stuff!

     

     2013 photos & vids here

    eff37 on Flickr

  • Superb set PB with all those fine species and photo captures. Off to have another look through them.    Can't believe how many different species of butterfly you have there especially the marbled white and copper.    Love the hare shots, normally I can't get within quarter mile of them without them heading for the hills ! 

    _________________________________________________________________________

    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • We all love your meanderings, PB. Lovely variety of butterflies. Always good to see a Yellowhammer - such colourful birds. Interesting to see a Brimstone - I've always associated them with Spring but what do I know.
    You must be a Hare whisperer to have one running to greet you. A magic moment.

    ____________________________________________________________________

    Regards,Tony

    My Flickr Photostream 

  • First one is actually a Grass moth but can't tell you which one of the UK 39 species it is but I know someone who can ... where are you H?

    I see a Common Field grasshopper in the medley!

     

     2013 photos & vids here

    eff37 on Flickr

  • Sure did enjoy. Fab pics PB

    (Pardon the Scottish Accent)

  • Fabulous photos PB, numerous butterflies etc but for me the highlight has to be the Yellowhammers and the hare you captured running towards you with those long legs on show - fantastic.

    Lot to learn

  • A fabulous collection of stuff. Excellent encounter with the Hare - I haven't seen one for ages and I've never had one that close. The Variable Damsel has scarred you for life, it seems! This one is the White-legged Damselfly, which is not one I get locally. 4 is worth learning as it's one of the commonest and easiest to recognise of the bumblebees - it's a Common Carder

    __________

    Nige   Flickr

  • Thank you all.
    Nige, you're right about the variable damsel. I lose sleep fretting over it.
    I forgot to say that after about pic 6 or 8 everything was showing so nicely I decided to swap to my big lens. Good choice I think as everything kept playing nice
  • Thats a lot of butterflys

    Richard B