Friday, 23 August 2019
Silver spots en masse
Gordon Hay and myself spent the morning and early afternoon combing the chalky slopes of White Downs and Denbigh's Hillside, collectively known to botanists, birders and butterfly people as Ranmore. We also spent a bit of time on the footpath at the base of this hill range, where there is plenty of Broad-leaved Everlasting-pea, in the forlorn hope of coming across a migrant Long-tailed Blue - there has been an influx of this butterfly into the south-east recently and this plant is a magnet to them. We drew a blank.
What we did not draw a blank on were Silver-spotted Skippers. We had never seen such numbers. The grassy banks and short-sward areas alike were being utilised, with a total of 335+ being reached, 300 of which were on White Downs and the rest on Denbigh's Hillside. We were coming across individuals in strange places - woodland edge, small glades, edges of fields - and it seemed as if we were witnessing a bit of an emergence and dispersal. Most of those we came across were in very good condition.
We had other highlights. 125+ Chalkhill Blue, 12 Adonis Blue, 7 Silver-washed Fritillary, a single Lace Border (localised moth) and single Tree Pipit and Spotted Flycatcher.