Heath Fritillary at Haddon Hill

Sunday 5th June 2016
Heath Fritillary, Haddon Hill, Somerset
The forecast looked ideal, but when I arrived at Haddon Hill it was, although bright and warm, cloudy. The roads showed signs of it having rained earlier. This wasn't what I wanted. An initial search for the rare butterfly I had come to see was fruitless; just a couple of Small Heaths.I found lots of Common Cow-wheat, the food plant of the target species. Tree Pipits, Stonechats, a Willow Warbler and a singing Redstart provided further interest. With conditions not improving I adjourned to the main car park to eat me picnic and check the weather app. It didn't look promising despite the glorious weather I had left behind, but I went for another look. Patches of blue sky were beginning to appear, and my spirit raised. This butterfly is only active in bright sunshine and at last. this was appearing. A Green Hairstreak fluttered by and landed close by. And then, at last, a Heath Fritillary. It was the only one I saw, but it was enough, and was very obliging, allowing close study, Eventually it moved on. Another Green Hairstreak appeared, it was getting very warm now.
The underwing is exquisite, as in other Fritillaries
This individual, a female, was very fresh looking
Another underwing shot
The Heath Fritillary site at Haddon Hill
Common Cow-wheat
Green Hairstreak


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