Having recovered from the superb break that was Yorkshire, my day off coincided with a beautifully sunny and still day which appeared to be begging for a chalk downland meander in search of some pretty blue butterflies, as I've only seen a couple so far this year. Spoilt for choice around here, I decided on Fontmell Down, close to Compton Abbas airfield, where I'd seen loads last year.
It was already 20 degrees by 9 o'clock, so was hopeful of a productive morning, and I was greeted by a pair of lazily cruising Red Kites in the distance
The old favourite, Flesh Fly, put in an early appearance
First butterfly was one of many, many Meadow Browns
Followed swiftly by one of the feisty Large Skippers that patrolled relentlessly
My first Marbled White of the year.
If I'd realised how many more there would be, and how much easier to photograph they would be, I would have spent less time contorted around the barbed wire fence they were the other side of!!
As I said, the site is close to an airfield... this is uncropped! (I hope the chap wasn't supposed to be at work...and if I knew how, I would have pixelated his face lol)
Just above my head a Goldfinch was twittering
And in a tree in the middle of the field a pair of birds, but not sure what...Goldfinch on the right maybe (yellow looking flash on the side... or just my eyes!), and something else?
Closer, and more distinguishable...hopefully... Lesser Whitethroat?
In the same tree as the previous double "what are these?"... so equally distant.... Corn Bunting??
Much closer to hand, a 5 Spot Burnet and a Small Tortoiseshell played nicely briefly
Before the Tortie got greedy and wanted a whole nectar pot to itself and flew off. I've not noticed a blue tail on a Burnet before.
And back in that same distant tree again.... Que?
More large Skipper action
I spent a fairly long time beside this tangle of brambles, because along with the Skippers, there were a good number of Meadow Browns, a Hawk Moth came in too close to photograph, and was gone again before I had chance to move... lots of bee's were buzzing, disturbing the butterflies, so was waiting to see what popped up... along with the Meadow Browns, and Skippers a Comma did
Constant droning came from overhead, sometimes distant, bit other times not
Carrying on down the path, 3/4 of a Speckled Wood kept up a vigilant patrol
A patch on the right hand side of the path has been left to go wild, and is fenced off...
I was quite merrily focussing on a Cardinal Beetle/ Sawfly/ Soldier Beetle on the top of the plant, when it got disturbed... Disappointingly, the Longhorns didn't wait for me to refocus!
The original target had moved down a flower, and so I snapped it and got a little bonus under it!
There was a Chiffchaff singing, but not sure if this was it! (Trying to remember RSPBaileys recent post of primaries and things!)
I eventually got my eye in for little fluttering things... I'd forgotten quite how small Small Blues are...but the clue is right there in the name!!
A female Marbled White
A Dock Bug (I think)
More Marbled action
I think some sort of Snail
And possibly first Small heath of the year
Not convinced, but another Large Skipper?
I got to the bottom of the path, and a pair of Long Tailed Tits twittered hello whilst staying resolutely, but flightily, in the shade
I headed back up the path, discovering on the way just how unfit I've become!
A very pale Brimstone kindly decided to have a rest where I was puffing and panting
And these Bee/Fly was quite happy for me to snap it
The slight disappointment of having seen no blues was definitely tempered by the number of Marbled Whites I saw, and then at the point I'd loitered earlier, something bright orange caught my eye... Comma on the wing...no...it's not flying "right".... Dark Green Fritillary (I hope!!)
I got to the car and looked at the vista... Not too shabby!!
Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed.
Help with ID's appreciated as always
Stay Safe All
You're getting some fantastic sightings PB and great days wildlife outings along with the beautiful scenery and although I'll leave the ID's to the experts I tend to agree with your Lesser Whitethroat which is a lovely bird to get so well done. What an abundance of butterflies, some of which I've never seen myself. Many thanks for taking the time to upload as it's always a pleasure to see such interesting posts.
"Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again"
Hey Benji I'm quite lazy, so I was using my 200-500 that I use for everything other than big landscapes. The down side is that I have to be 6-7 feet away from the subject and lots of blades of grass can get in the way. The plus side is that when that greater lesser spotted blue headed white throat warbler flies overhead, I haven't got to change lenses coz it's inevitably landed 100 yards away!
In reply to PimperneBloke:
(Pardon the Scottish Accent)
Linda beat me to it, a holiday to get over the holiday you just had!
Where will it end!
More brilliant photos PB.
That’s a very clear shot of the pilots face, and it could be he was actually working, either as a trainee trying to gain his PPL or even on a refresher, because pilots need to be assessed on a regular basis, which I think is down to the number of flying hours they’ve completed.
Soooo jealous of your five-spot burnet moth, I’ve not seen any for, years, well, probably since before covid. The blue sparkles could be the light shining on the hairs of the abdomen.
Flickr Peak Rambler
We spend 90% of net income on conservation, public education and advocacy
The RSPB is a member of BirdLife International. Find out more about the partnership
© The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: England and Wales no. 207076, Scotland no. SC037654
Accepting all non-essential cookies helps us to personalise your experience
These cookies are required for basic web functions
Allow us to collect anonymised performance data
Allow us to personalise your experience