Thursday, 26 June 2014

Purple Emperor

With it still looking very quiet on the birding front we were out looking for Butterflies and Dragonflies again today. First stop was Hollingbury Park in Brighton for another go at the White-letter Hairtreaks. The result was similar to Tuesday in Preston Park. We could see the Hairstreaks at the top of the tree but they were not coming down to have their photographs taken.

You can tell I was getting a bit bored as I ended up taking pictures of Hover Flies.

Hover Fly - Chrysotoxum bicinctum 

We gave it a couple of hours and then moved on to Woods Mill to have a look for Dragonflies. Eight species were reported as having been seen earlier in the week but we could not find them. We saw Beautiful Demoiselles, an Empereor over the middle of the lake, and a couple of Blue Damselflies but nothing to get exited about. The pond has been cleaned up but I am not sure that it has done anything for the Damsel and Dragonfly populations. There were a lot more around before the pond was cleaned.

Nor did we see any of the reported White Admirals so once again I resorted to insects.

Dark Bush Cricket - Pholidoptera griseoptera

With it starting to look a bit like a wasted day we headed off to Madgeland Woods to have another go at the White Admirals. We had seen lots there on the Monday but they were very active and I had been unable to get a decent picture. Today was no different the White Admirals are very fast flying and very mobile. I stalked a number of them along the rides but could not get anywhere near them. Then I got one that settled for a few seconds. Its not exactly in prime condition but its a start.

White Admiral - with juvenile Alien hanging under leaf.

The real find of the day was made by Dave when he came across a Purple Emperor down on the ride. Again it was not in perfect condition but as it was my first ever Purple Emperor I am not complaining. It stayed for about half an hour probing the earth for the salts and minerals that it needs and taking very little notice as we took our pictures.

Purple Emperor

Using yellow probiscus to probe for salts and minerals

Pity about the damaged rear right wing

Still you can always effect a repair in Photoshop!

Other butterflies around included Skippers, Commas, Meadow Browns, Ringlets, and Silver-washed Fritillaries.

Silver-washed Fritillary

Small Skipper

Large Skipper

Meadow Brown

So a slow start to a day that was eventually rescued by a special butterfly. I have seen it, I have the record shot, but as with the White Admiral I now need that perfect shot of a freshly emerged specimen.

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