Silchester Common

Sunday 28th July 2013
Silver-studded Blue, Silchester Common
Insects again, as I take advantage of the weather, this time to bag a specialist of southern heathlands. I knew I had left it rather late in the flight season, but I thought I'd give it a go anyway. On arriving at Silchester Common, Hampshire, there was a light rain shower, but it was still warm. Thanks to Mark D.'s directions I soon found suitable habitat =, but not much on the wing. It's always useful having a second pair of eyes, and while distracted photographing a Mottled Grasshopper, Linda alerted me to a diminutive blue butterfly nearby. Although very worn-looking, close inspection left me in now doubt that this was a Silver-studded Blue. Another very near, and these were the only two we saw on the common. I must go earlier next year and see this butterfly in its true glory. A Bog Bush-cricket was another nice find. The only dragons were a Brown Hawker and a Common Darter. A few other butterflies,  including Ringlet, Small Heath, Small Skipper, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper and Large White. Linnets provided the main bird presence. The nearby Roman town and amphitheatre at Silchester, Calleva Atrebatum, is well worth a visit, especially with the annual summer dig in progress.
Very faded!
If you look really hard, and use your imagination, you can just about see the remnants of the 'silver studs'

Mottled Grasshopper
Bog Bush-cricket
Silchester Common; the SSBs were just to the right of the path

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