Friday, 7 September 2012

Mill Hill

31 July 2012
At the expected peak period for the Chalkhill Blue Butterflies felt obliged to check out Mill Hill although the conditions were far from ideal with overcast skies and a very irritating breeze (Force 5) and cool (> 18.6 °C). The first male Chalkhill Blue left the Pixie Path at the southern end, almost in Old Shoreham, which was an encouraging sign. However, when visiting Mill Hill Cutting when for a few minutes, there were twenty male Chalkhill Blue Butterflies fluttering around but most of the butterflies were roosting under a cloudy sky, not being warm enough for them to venture out. On one seeded Hawkweed there were four tattered males resting and the actual numbers must have been at least double those in flight. There was a Large White on the Waterworks Road and a Red Admiral in the Butterfly Copse. A few Gatekeepers were seen around the Ivy and one in Frampton's Field.
 Chalkhill Blues
Chalkhill Blue
Wall Brown
On Mill Hill the same pattern emerged with almost having to step on any butterflies to get them to show. On the lower slopes one acre transect I counted 64 Chalkhill Blues which comprised 62 active males and one mating pair spotted in about 30 minutes. Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers were both frequently seen, most of them disturbed by my presence, with one intact Small Heath Butterfly. In contrast to the butterflies, a few 6-spotted Burnet Moths flew with their wings whirring and would not keep still. Other moths disturbed were two Common Carpet Moths, a Treble-bar Moth or two, and a Shaded Broad-bar, Scotopteryx chenopodiata. Just one Pyrausta nigrata pyralid moth made an appearance, but these micro-moths are easily overlooked.

Red Admirals

4 September 2012
About forty Red Admiral Butterflies congregated around a single Buddleia bush by the buffer stop (north of the Riverbank Industrial Estate) west Shoreham. 

Two species, Four Butterflies

Mill Hill Cutting (SE) on 7 September 2012