15/07/2013

Oversley Wood & Heddon's Mouth - A Butterfly Weekend

Saturday 13th & Sunday 14th July 2013
High Brown Fritillary, Heddon's Mouth
Oversley Wood at his time of year means butterflies, but especially Purple Emperor; Heddon's Mouth likewise for High Brown Fritllary. Saturday was the start of a butterfly bonanza, starting with a visit to Overlsey Wood in Warwickshire with Mark. We managed a total of five Purple Emperors - with some very obliging allowing close study on the ground or on low vegetation. We also found 2-3 White-letter Hairstreaks fairly high-up on a Wild Cherry tree and a number of other species including five White Admirals, 30+ Silver-washed Fritillaries and a single Purple Hairstreak.
Purple Emperor, Oversley Wood, licking the path
Licking a Bracken frond
Mmmm, tastes good
Can't think of a caption ... I know: "What a beaut!"
Spot the White-letter Hairstreak, high up on a Wild Cherry
Sunday involved a day out in Devon, where I hoped to get my first butterfly lifer of the year. An early start meant we avoided any traffic and arrived at Heddon Valley before 10am. The walk to Heddon's Mouth through the valley is lovely, but there was disappointment initially with 'just' Siver-washed Fritillaries (they are nice all the same) at the meadow, and tantalising distant views of two smaller-looking Fritillaries in the meadow itself. There is no access into the meadow, but I waited around the Brambles at the top edge for some time with no luck. I photographed the Silver-washed Fritillaries before Linda and common sense told me it was time to move on. I had almost resigned myself to a dip in terms of the main attraction. Who cares - it's a great place, was my internal mantra for the next hour as we made our way to the beach and soaked in the views. On walking back, just past the wooden bridge, we spotted a Fritillary around a patch of Brambles. Hold on I said, thats not Silver-washed. It alighted to nectar: HIGH BROWN FRITILLARY at last! And then another, and further on another 50m and three more. Phew. A nice Cider and lunch at the fantastic Hunter's Inn, glowing with success, was a nice conclusion to the morning's efforts. We rounded the day off with afternoon tea at Watersmeet, another beautiful spot, and then at Lynmouth and Lynton (the latter via the cliff railway). A grand day out indeed.
High Brown Fritillary
Indented third spot = HBF if you can only see the upperwing
HBF - very approachable when engrossed on a nice Bramble flower
Silver-washed Fritillary, Heddon Valley
Heddon's Mouth

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