Monday, 19 July 2021

Silver-studded Blue

Time to catch up on some of the late season butterflies and also a few of the earlier ones that I had not recorded. This sudden return of enthusiasm being triggered by the hot weather and the realisation that I was about to time out on the Silver-studded Blue.

It has been a funny year for the butterflies. Poor numbers of the early season species and now what appears to be large numbers of a lot of the later species. On top of that some species seem to be late emerging whilst others are around there normal time.

We usually see the Silver-studded Blues at Iping Common in the last two weeks of June. This year it was us that were late, rather than the butterfly, looking for them in the second week of July. There were still plenty flying but most were past their best so I guess these had emerged on their usual timescales.

Female Silver-studded Blue

Male Silver-studded Blue

Male with silver studs just about showing

We also took a trip over to Windover Hill on the 14th July to see the Chalkhill Blues and to look for Grayling. We had regularly seen good numbers of fresh Chalkhills on this date in previous years and occasionally a Grayling or two. This year the Chalkhills were out but only in small numbers and there was no sign of Grayling. However the nationally rare Yellow Pearl Moth with a flight season of Mid July to August was out in huge numbers. In places it was difficult to put your foot down without treading on them.

Chalkhill Blue

Yellow Pearl Moth - Mecyna flavalis

A couple of days out butterflying also filled a few gaps in my sightings earlier in the year. We were perhaps a bit late for finding fresh Dark Green Fritillaries to photograph but we did at least see lots of them whilst we were out, probably in bigger numbers than I have seen for many years.

Dark Green Fritillary

Photographs of the Dark Greens and the Silver-washed Fritillaries are always difficult unless you can find them nectaring towards the end of the day.

Silver-washed Fritillary

We also saw our first Gatekeeper of the year. This sighting being much later than we would normally have found it.


July is also the time to look for Essex Skippers. They emerge a couple of weeks after the Small Skippers and the two species look very similar. It takes a bit of effort to be sure you are looking at an Essex with the best differentiator being the underside of the antenna. These should be black on the Essex and orange/brown on the Small.

Female Skipper probably a Small

and an Essex showing the black undersides to the antenna

A few other Butterflies spotted whilst we were out.

Marbled White

Painted Lady

Red Admiral

We also saw a good number of White Admirals around Houghton Forest but the only one we found puddling on the ground was well past it's best and I will spare you the photograph.


This Comma being the form Hutchinsoni. These usually develop when the caterpillars are exposed to long periods of sunlight. Did we have that earlier this year? I think the normal form is a much more impressive butterfly.

Large Skipper

Plenty of Peacock's seen but perhaps more unusual, a Peacock Caterpillar

Peacock Caterpillar

and to finish, a Ringlet......


and a White-letter Hairstreak. Perhaps not the best picture I have taken of the White-letter but it is the only one we saw and then only for a few seconds whilst silhouetted against the sun.

White-letter Hairstreak

Still a few butterflies to see before the end of the year and I am still keeping my fingers crossed for a Large Tortoiseshell. There is still time!


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