Lancing Ring

29 July 2010
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.

The 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 Dragonfly. This dragonfly 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 Blues, about 15 Meadow Browns, a few both Large Skippers and noticeably smaller Small Skippers, two Brown Argus and there were undoubtably more,plus a dozen plus 6-spotted Burnet Moths and a few Silver Y Moths were noted.
A caterpillar 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.

The second 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 12 Meadow Browns, 8 Common Blues and 4 Chalkhill Blues. I was surprised to see a small Pyrausta nigrata pyralid moth and I made a note of two 6-spotted Burnet Moths.
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:

1 Holly Blue, 4 to 7 Wall Browns, 1 Red Admiral, 16+ Meadow Browns, 8+ Common Blues, 5+Large Whites, 6+ Green-veined 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 fritillaries 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.

Speckled Woods
Common Blue
Small Heath
Wall Brown

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.

I return down a thorn bordered path running west to east through the centre of the meadow seeing a further five Gatekeepers, a Peacock on Hemp Agrimony and three Speckled Woods.

Approaches to Lancing Ring

Front 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

Gatekeeper 100+ 
Meadow Brown 75+ 
Brown Argus 2+
Large White 6+ 
Red Admiral 3
Large Skipper 2
Small Skipper 4
Chalkhill Blue 5
Green-veined White 50+
Common Blue 50+ 
Peacock > 4
Speckled Wood 5
Small White 1
Holly Blue 1
Wall Brown 4 to 7
Small Heath 2+
  6-spotted Burnet Moth
  Silver Y Moth
Rush Veneer Moth

Fifteen butterfly species plus the one possible


Fifteen butterfly species plus the one possible