We started the day off with a visit to Botany Bay Wood, just over the border into Surrey, to see if we could get Dave a Wood White. It was all a bit quiet when we got there but I think we were just a bit too early in the day. Eventually we found a couple and Dave got his pictures and a year tick.
It's difficult to see why there are so few colonies of Wood Whites around. They seem to have a wide range of nectaring and food plants and are not particularly temperature or geology sensitive. I know that we have lost a lot of coppiced woodland rides which will affect their numbers but there are many woods similar to Botany Bay across the south of England.
Our next stop was Iping Common where Silver-studded Blues had been reported. Its a small butterfly on a large common but we eventually found a small group. There were probably two or three females and and about eight males. I have had trouble photographing Silver-studded Blues in the past. Closed wing shots are not a problem but they often sit with their wings open at forty five degrees and it is very difficult to get the depth of field you need to get the whole butterfly sharp - that's my excuse anyway.
|Note the silver studding in the black marginal spots|
|Female - colours vary from dark brown through to predominantly blue|
This female is only a couple of days old and has not faded to this state.
Wood White and Silver-studded Blue in the bag and we still had most of the afternoon left. A large moth distracted us for a few minutes on the way back to the car park. I had to look it up in the book when I got home, it was a Clouded Buff.
|Clouded Buff - day flying moth|
We decided on a visit to Lords Piece on the way home to have a look for Dragonflies. It turned out to be a good choice. There were plenty of Blue Damselflies around the pond but they were not easy to photograph.
|I think this one is an Azure Blue|
We saw Four-spotted and Broad-bodied Chasers but best of all were views of a Golden-ringed Dragonfly and a Downy Emerald. Both landed and gave us long enough to get a few pictures.
The only problem with a good day out is that you have hundreds of pictures to process when you get home. They are never as good as you want or expect but you just hope for a couple of good ones in there somewhere.