The Dukes took a while to appear this morning, but were soon flying about in double-figures as the temperature warmed, along with several Dingy Skippers and Green Hairstreaks. I was surprised at how docile and mellow DOBs actually are- these particular butterflies seemed much more content with sunning themselves than worrying about passing dog walkers, other intruding butterflies, or the instinct to find a mate.
|Duke of Burgundy- what a gem.|
The most exciting find of the day came in the form of a monstrous 'staph', soon identified as Platydracus fulvipes. This beetle carries nationally notable 'B' status in the UK, and doesn't appear to be well recorded in the country- I'll have to wait to find out if it's an interesting record for Hampshire. Best of the rest included a nice array of chalk loving moths- Pyrausta aurata, Pancalia leuwenhoekella and Falseuncaria ruficiliana, as well as a welcome vocal cacophony of Yellowhammer and Tree Pipit, whilst an almost constant stream of Red Kite glided overhead.
|Falseuncaria ruficiliana- my first record of this day-flying tortrix, which utilises primrose as a foodplant|
|Platydracus fulvipes- The unexpected star of the show... I was genuinely scared for my life as went to pot this one up!|
|Osmia bicolor, a scarce but distinctive mason bee which nests in empty snail shells.|
|As you can see from the reflection on the thorax of this shiny Epistrophe eligans hoverfly, I like waving at insects. Don't judge me.|
|An obliging Tree Pipit kept me company amongst the Cowslips.|
|Early Purple Orchid in bloom by the entrance gate.|
|Cowslip is the main foodplant for Duke of Burgundy, so you can begin to get an idea as to why the butterfly is doing so well on Noar Hill.|
I could quite happily spend the rest of my days wandering the South Downs- a fantastic part of the country to appreciate wildlife.