Posts Tagged ‘Butterflies



On the Butterfly Tour last week we encountered a tree full of Purple Hairsteaks. Now anyone familiar with these butterflies will know that watching them usually requires a considerable amount of ‘neck craning’. More frequently that not they are in the very tops of trees. Not so this tree-full. They were more than obliging; coming down to bask in the sheltered sunshine on an Ash tree.

Now, I’m reliably told Purple Hairstreaks don’t as a matter of course visit Ash. They are more associated with Oak and indeed there were Oaks nearby. However apparently they will visit Ash to take the sugary honeydew secreted by Aphids. Aphids being particularly fond of Ash. Well I searched that tree carefully and I couldn’t find a single aphid. Although I did see the hairstreaks sipping the sap from the tree at leaf buds.

We encountered 23 species of butterfly during the day; perhaps a little below what we could have expected had the cloud not set in during the afternoon. Next years day is up for grabs if you wish to come along make a booking


Jurassic Coast

Earlier this month I took a hike to the south coast with some guests for a tour in Dorset. A series of nature walks gave us some great Nightjar views, a Fox with cubs, some rare orchids, a family of Polecats put on a fatal performance; we had some wonderful seabirds and mammals and that elusive reptile the Sand Lizard gave us a few sightings. A few photos follow. Sadly I shan’t be running this tour next year but it will make an appearance in the future I’m sure.

Dartford Warbler

Garden Warbler

Marbled White

Musk Orchid

Pyramidal Orchid

Rosel’s Bush Cricket

Wall Lizard

Great Green Bush Cricket


Black Darter

Bog Ashphodel

Common Tern

Keeled Skimmer

Rose Chafer


Wolf Spider

Brown Long eared Bat

Harlequin Ladybird

Ruddy Darter

Small Red Damselfly


So Blue

This Holly Blue Butterfly was resting in the borders at Falcon Cottage the other day. I couldn’t resist taking a photo of it. Butterflies are such miracles it’s difficult to perceive they can fly let alone look so beautiful.


Scarcities on the wing

A trip into Northamptonshire last month spawned a day trip for next year (see this link) in search of Wood Whites and Black Hairstreaks. Wood Whites are like floating pieces of tissue paper whereas Black Hairstreaks, one of the UK’s scarcer species,  are tree top dwellers but it’s possible to find a few at ground level … as per the photos. Let me know if you’d like to make a booking.

Black Hairstreak_Z5A5383 Wood White_Z5A5745


Simply Empirical

We did the ‘Purple Emperor Tour’ the other day. The weather as we left Norfolk didn’t look promising and the forecast didn’t look much better. However, persistence sometimes pays off and in the sunnier spells between rain showers we managed to catch up with around 9 of these magnificent butterflies.

Purple Emperor 1 Purple Emperor 2 Purple Emperor 3 Purple Emperor 4 Purple Emperor 5


Spots before our eyes

I’m not sure why they called a Dark Green Fritillary a Dark Green Fritillary. It’s underwings are green in parts … but they are hardly dark. I prefer the old name … ‘Silver Spotted Fritillary’. We saw this one on brambles in the dunes when on tour last Friday.

Dark Green Fritillary


Birds and Butterflies

On our way to Penzance for the Scillies Tour the other week we took a small detour to the Devon coast. Amid the coastal fields we easily found our target; Cirl Buntings. Perched in bushes and feeding on seed crops in the fields they were wonderful to watch. However, also amid the fields were something I didn’t expect, or at least not in the numbers that were present. Clouded Yellow Butterflies were everywhere. More than I have seen in one place before. Although they do breed within the UK they are primarily an immigrant and the majority of overwintering adults and larvae are killed off by our cold wet winters. To see them everywhere we looked was a real treat.

2014 10 02 Cirl Bunting Prawl Point Devon_Z5A5295

2014 10 02 Clouded Yellow Prawl Point Devon_Z5A5338


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

December 2017
« Nov    


%d bloggers like this: