Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Butterfly time; big time.

The place is swarming with butterflies and moths right now.

The Education centre garden is a good place to start your search as there is a patch of lavender in there. Yesterday I saw a lot of bumble bees, several white butterflies and silver y moths. They look like humming-bird hawk moths because they have the same habit of hovering in front of the flowers in daytime, gathering nectar with their long tongues.

Budleia is always a great attractor for the big Vanessid butterflies such as peacocks, commas and red admirals. Small tortoiseshells are still quite uncommon but you can get lucky. There is a flowering bush in Wray House Garden, near the Kingfisher Hide. I found a brimstone there too.

Brown argus
Even is grassland you can see lots of butterflies, but they tend to be small. Look for a thistle or a knapweed flower and see what turns up. Common blues, small skippers, and small coppers are likely. The one that everyone seems to overlook is the brown argus, which is actually a close relative of the common blue. The Little Meadow, on the riverside, across the Ouse Valley Way from the Hayling Pit is teeming with butterflies. It is also a busy hunting ground for hundreds of dragonflies.

If you spend a few moments on our new dragonfly-watching platform you will almost certainly see a black tailed skimmer that is holding a territory very close to the woodwork.
Small Copper
The small, red dragonflies are common darters while the big, brown-winged "helicopters" are brown hawkers.

While you are there, listen out for a turtle dove that has been calling from the dead trees beyond. It is always worth looking at the doves that perch on the power-lines as they are not always collared doves.

Meadow Brown