Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Two Sussex Beauties

The time when the accent switches from birds to butterflies fast approaches. Right now we are on the cusp, torn between dashing to the coast to watch the passage of seabirds or to venture into the Sussex countryside in search of freshly emerged butterflies. Today, with such fine weather and high temperatures predicted, the butterflies won. We started, rather later than usual, at Kithurst meadow, the closest site for Duke of Burgundy and usually reliable. Two earlier visits had resulted in nothing being found but with high temperatures over the Bank Holiday weekend there was a good chance that they would be on the wing. And so it proved, as we parked a returning butterfly enthusiast confirmed that they were about and we didn't hang about as we made our way down the hill.

With one target in the bag we decided to give Rewell Wood the once over for some fresh Pearl-bordered Fritillaries. Last week when we visited we had encountered some serious mud where heavy plant had churned up the tracks. The reasoning was that we should approach from Fairmile Bottom, much drier tracks that way. Only a third of the way up the hill I was beginning to regret that decision, perhaps the other way in was muddy but at least it was flat. Still, as we spotted our first PbF all the pain disappeared and we set about trying to get reasonable records of some fairly fast flying subjects. Finally one specimen posed for us and we were happy. The walk back to the car was a doddle, virtually down hill all the way.

Earlier butterfly forays had given me a Grizzled Skipper at Mill Hill though precious little else was flying in the cool south westerly breeze. At Anchor Bottom I recorded the first blooms of Green-winged Orchid.

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