Monday, 2 June 2014

Old Lady in need of a Paint job

Well, I could have hoped for something a little fresher and a little brighter for my first Painted Lady of the year. They only have a two or three week life span as a butterfly so this one must have really had a difficult time in the couple of weeks that it's been flying. The good news is that it was last seen flying off into the sunset, so there is still some life in the old lady yet.

Rather worn Painted Lady

Having yet again been misled by the BBC weather forecast I picked Dave up and we headed up onto the downs to make the most of the unexpected sunshine. Kithurst Meadow gave us Small Blue, Common Blue, Brown Argus and a Small Tortoiseshell as well as a number of different day flying moths. Chantry hill had a similar selection but with the Painted Lady instead of the Tortoiseshell.

Small Blue

Common Blue Female

But it has no cell spot on the underside of the forewing

Separation of the female Common Blue and Brown Argos should be easy when you have the pictures in front of you but they never seem to fit the descriptors exactly. The logic for this one is that on the first picture it is female from the short body but if it was a female Brown Argos the orange lunes would not fade out before the tip of the fore wing. On the second picture the black spots on the rear wing follow the shape of the wing and do not have the characteristic colon shape that occurs on the Brown Argos. See for more details. So it is a Common Blue female - but then it does not have the cell spot on the underside of the fore wing and the black mark on the upper fore wing is quite prominent suggesting it is an Argos - all very confusing.

I have nothing but admiration for those that can tell the difference as they flutter past but I suspect the occasional mistake does get made and I may have just added to that total.

We also had a nice Small Tortoiseshell

Small Tortoiseshell

and there were a lot of Cinnabar moths in the area .........

Cinnabar Moth

.... and to finish off a Large White which this year seems to be a very rare butterfly. This is the first that I have seen. A bit different from previous years when the Large White caterpillars managed to strip my prize crop of Cavolo Nero in just a couple of days.

Large White

Quite a successful afternoon but I did not manage to find a Small Copper which has now risen to the top of my wish list. A good excuse to go back for another go.

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