Despite the overcast sky, I made a visit to the Lancing Ring Nature Reserve where most of the butterflies were resting and needed to be disturbed to be seen, except for the frequent Gatekeepers which may have been under-recorded. Their estimate was about 95.
top part of McIntyres Field was first the first meadow to be briefly
surveyed and I was shocked by the sudden rise of a large light blue Emperor
is scarce locally and not seen every year.
It flew off only about 20 metres to another part of the meadow, but I could
not locate it again. In less than ten minutes, an estimated 20 Common
a few both Large Skippers
and noticeably smaller Small Skippers,
there were undoubtably more,plus a dozen plus 6-spotted
Burnet Moths and a few Silver
Y Moths were noted.
crawled across the mown path grass at the top of McIntyre's Field.
It could be the larva of the White Ermine Moth, Spilosoma luteum.
A small Rush Veneer moth was noted near the eastern car park.
meadow to be surveyed was adjacent to the trail that runs only the
southern perimeter of the main meadow in a central location.In about seven
minutes, I first noted one of at least two Small
Heath Butterflies and to find any more
butterflies I had to disturb the grasses and tall herbs and then I noted
8 Common Blues
4 Chalkhill Blues. I
was surprised to see a small
moth and I made a note of two 6-spotted Burnet
|Not forgetting the view of a Green Woodpecker calling from the path to the north of the second meadow.|
The third meadow was in the extreme south-west corner of the main meadow. This was near the bush of Hemp Agrimony which on a sunny day would attract a score of butterflies. On this occasion a vanessid made a fleeting visit and I think it was a Peacock Butterfly, but it was the only one. Immediately, there was an explosion of Common Blue Butterfliesand I arrived at a part estimated count of 27, which included few blue females. There was one Chalkhill Blue uncovered, six Meadow Browns disturbed, one Gatekeeper and a Silver Y Moth.
From the third meadow, the path goes due north to the dewpond, which was dry. This path was the best area and the butterflies are listed as follows:
Blue, 4 to 7 Wall
Browns, 1 Red
Admiral, 16+ Meadow
Whites, 8+ Gatekeepers,and
the unsatisfied highlight were two large orange butterflies flying past
in a loping style above by head and quickly into the trees above which
could have been either been
or Comma Butterflies
with the former a great possibility as I had never seen Dark
Green Fritillaries before if that is what
they were. I tried looking for them later, but I could not find them. There
was also a pair of Speckled Woods,
but the female was very shy.
There were more Gatekeepers and Common Blues around the dewpond and in the north meadows of the main meadow sections were were more sparsely vegetated and more sparsely occupied by butterflies, a two minute visit to a meadow revealing one Small Skipper, two Common Blues, 5 Meadow Browns and a Silver Y moth.
The clump of trees held at least two Speckled Woods, and my first hoverfly Volucella inanis of the year.
down a thorn bordered path running west to east through the centre of the
meadow seeing a further five Gatekeepers,
a Peacock on
Agrimony and three Speckled
garden: Speckled Wood
Town: Large Whites
Outskirts: Green-veined White (fresh)
Towpath to Cuckoo's Corner: Red Admiral, Common White (definite), Large Skipper, 3+ Gatekeepers, 3+ Common Blues.
Cuckoo's Corner: 6+ Green-veined Whites
North of Cuckoo's Corner: Red Admiral, Meadow Brown
Set-aside field, west of Ladywells: 30+Green-veined Whites
Fifteen butterfly species plus the one possible