Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Pearl-bordered Fritillary

Today was an outing with a difference, we decided to give the long lenses a miss, just a medium length lens and a macro in the bag. The target today was to get some shots of a Pearl-bordered Fritillary and any other interesting bugs or insects that may be about. Also, a Nightingale would be nice to have in the bag as they have been showing well at Pulborough Brooks.  So the itinerary was set, Waltham Brooks, Pulborough Brooks and finally Rewell Woods and a fairly small target list.

The walk from the road to the wooden footbridge at Waltham Brooks gave Martin ticks of Sedge Warbler and Whitethroat. A quick scan of the lake gave nothing exotic on the wildfowl front; I still cannot find a Garganey and despair of getting a tick until later in the year. At the railway crossing several birders were about but it was a freshly emerged Small Copper that caught my eye and was duly captured.

On the return journey we came across an obliging Sedge Warbler that sat immediately above us in a hawthorn bush, Murphy's Law prevailed as I had a 180mm macro lens on the camera - anyway I managed a record shot of his head.

As we reached the road the superb song of a Nightingale was reverberating through the hedgerow. Whilst you can't miss the song, getting a visual sighting is a tad more difficult. He never posed in the open for us but I managed a record shot - another year tick.  Having got a Nightingale we didn't need to visit Pulborough, so it was an early start at Rewell Wood.

When we arrived another butterfly enthusiast was just leaving and he showed us a photo of a PBF that he had found just recently. After that, climbing up from the entrance at Fairmile Bottom to the top of the hill was a doddle. However, as we made our way down the main ride the sun was definitely weakening and grey skies loomed. Things didn't look too encouraging and I thought we might struggle. Twenty yards in and Martin flushed not one, but two, pristine specimens - a life tick!. We went to work with a will, managing to record some open wing shots of three fairly active specimens. Finally the sun gave out and slight drizzle set in, which for us was most fortunate as we had tracked one specimen until it rested on a bracken shoot, where it remained for at least forty five minutes. I only took two hundred shots and I still can't decide which is the best!! Lindsay arrived just as we were about to leave but we managed to find a couple of specimens for him .

On the footpath back towards the car we discovered a magnificent specimen of the Green Tiger Beetle, sporting a very impressive metallic green bum, purple legs and a superb set of jaws.

Bugle, Ajuga reptans - sometimes known as "carpenters herb" -  a favourite nectar source of the
Pearl-bordered Fritillary 
 Finally, home, completely knackered but determined to get amongst some more butterflies before long.

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