Sunday, 4 August 2013

Clouded Yellow steals the day

Clouded Yellow of the form helice, a welcome surprise this morning.

The first CFBW Bird Group ‘Butterfly and Plant’ walk was held today, which I co-lead with Paul Goodman. Our group comprised 20 in total, with familiar faces such as Peter Wakeham, Peter Alfrey, Neil Stocks, Ian Jones and his wife, Ian Magness and, of course, David Campbell (who ensured that there were at least one pair of eyes trained onto the sky). We basically walked along Chipstead Bottom and then looped through Banstead Woods before retracing our steps back to the Holly Lane car park.

It was a great success, with a total of 23 species of butterfly being seen, including a magnificent helice form of Clouded Yellow, which performed immaculately for the cameras. Also seen were a Painted Lady, 3 Silver-washed Fritillary, 50+ Chalkhill Blue and 5 Purple Hairstreak.

Plants were not to be outdone, with a single (unflowering) Cut-leaved Germander, a new White Mullein plant being found at a new site, Pale St.John’s Wort (after much searching), Goldenrod, Autumn Gentian, Dodder (in some profusion of flowering), Round-leaved Fluellen, Yellow Bird’s-nest (all past it’s best) and Devil’s-bit Scabious (yet to flower). All of the usual chalk downland suspects put on a good show, with recent rain no doubt helping to freshen everything up after the hot spell. 

Birds were not really looked for, but a calling Crossbill had us all looking into the sky as it passed overhead. 

It is amazing what can be found in a small area when like-minded people get together and share their knowledge and enthusiasm. It is also a reminder to us all what a special area we live in.

Chalkhill Blue trying hard not to be outdone by the Clouded Yellow above

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