I was not working on Saturday and, as the sun was shining I wanted to go out, but at the end of half-term week where should I go? The New Forest would be busy, so I headed up onto the chalk, to Broughton Down, which turned out the be a good decision. It was alive with butterflies and especially with blues. Most frequent were common blue.
There were also rather fewer Adonis blue, you can tell the difference by the little black lines that go through the white wing outline.
A scatter of small blue gave me the run-around and it took a while to get any sort of picture of one.
Although not actually blue, the brown argus is closely related to the common blue, in fact small female common blue can easily be confused with it.
The last of the day’s blues was the holly blue, there were several females egg-laying on dogwood around the reserve.
Not all the butterflies were blues, although almost all were small and often difficult to keep up with. I find green hairstreak especially difficult to find and follow, their erratic flight and green colouration mean they seem to just disappear. So I was pleased when this one landed right beside me, even if a bit of milkwort was rather in the way.
Other small fast butterflies are available and skippers are certainly in this category, I saw both bare ground specialist skippers in good numbers, high on the down there were dingy skipper.
Whilst in the valley there were several grizzled skipper.
Other butterflies were rather few, with only brimstone frequent, a few speckled wood, green-veined white and a couple of rather late orange-tip finished off the list for the day.
Not all insects are butterflies of course, there were quite a few green pot beetle.
Hoverflies were not abundant, despite the sunshine but I did see a Sceava pyrastri, typically a migrant species to the UK.
Quiet a spectacular resident species typical of species rich grassland is Chrysotoxum festivum.
I had hoped to be able to identify the rather brightly marked craneflies that were quiet abundant, I even got a fair picture of it, but it turns out there are several very, very similar species and a picture is just not enough.
All of the species so far were ones I had seen before, but when I sat down for a drink I noticed several tiny moths on the germander speedwell flowers, these turned out to be Cauchas fibulella, whose caterpillars feed on…. germander speedwell!
A pretty good Wild Day on a great site, I will be back.
Oooooh, thank you for that last shot Bob….that’s one I photographed today and hadn’t got round to identifying. Several tiny ones in my location too. What a great selection of butterflies!!!
Great photos and info Bob we will certainly put it on our list to visit this summer. Thank you
Fantastic pictures thanks