Away on a trip up to Salisbury Plain, specifically Fyfield Down, near Avebury. Fyfield is a National Nature Reserve and it is where the people at Avebury got the stones from, remarkable dry valleys filled with a dense scatter of large rocks.
The main wildlife interest is in the lichens on the rocks, but on the reserve and the walk up from Avebury there were lots of insects. Butterflies were unremarkable but I did see two painted lady, possibly a sign of a mass migrant arrival underway.
The picture shows a moth rather than a butterfly, it is a Mother Shipton, the pattern on the upper-wing supposedly looking like the silhouette of a witch of that name, with eye, long nose, mouth and long pointed chin.
Most of the insects I saw were flies, nectaring, especially on hogweed. One was a species that was new to me, a fly with densely patterned wings called Platystoma seminationis.
Quite a few flies have patterned wings and use them to display by waving them around to attract a mate. Picture-winged flies are well known for doing this and I came across two males having a vigorous struggle for the right to a display point at the top of a musk thistle, possibly a mistake as the species breeds in the seedheads of knapweed.
There weer also lots of dung-flies.
It was not all flies though, there were also lots of garden chafer beetles, a species I don’t see very often.