Monday, 5 July 2010

New Hythe lakes and an Elephant in the room!

In the absence of much excitement from our feathered friends, just a Common Tern on Brooklands lake and five Shelduck chicks on the river, my visit to New Hythe turned into a bit of a butterfly fest. With at least nine species on the wing, including a couple of new ticks for the year there was plenty to keep me occupied for a couple of hours. My only regret was my decision to wear my shorts today. In hindsight I should have known that firstly, the paths, as i've said before are somewhat overgrown. And secondly, I should have known that the butterflies would be on the wing and that they don't stick to the footpaths. Consequently my legs are scratched to pieces from the brambles and even now are still stinging from the nettles. Bring on the Dock leaves!
I'm going to label the pictures below, even if i'm a bit unsure of a couple of them. So apologies if i'm on the wrong track and feel free to put me firmly back on the straight and narrow if you wish.

The next three pictures are my first ever of Purple Hairstreaks. I've seen them at New Hythe before way up in the Oak trees but never been able to get a picture which is why i'm indulging myself with these. Aren't they great little critters!


I think the two Skippers below are of the small variety. I thought i'd mastered the subtle differences between these and their Large cousins but now i'm a bit indecisive, at least I think I am............


Next up is another first for me at New Hythe, it's a Ringlet and I probably saw a dozen of them today.


A bit of a conundrum next. On the other side it's a Meadow Brown complete with eye spot but on this side it doesn't have one. I'm not surprised I get confused!
No mistaking this one. One of my favourites, even with their wings shut they look great.


Below is another first of the year for me at New Hythe in the shape of a Gatekeeper. I only saw the one, thankfully the sun was behind the clouds and he didn't seem inclined to fly.


Other species seen but not photographed (or photographed badly) were Large White and Comma. Still not many dragonflies about today but the one that got away was a nice Four Spotted Chaser which I think just wanted to be chased.
And finally. We were enjoying a very pleasant evening with some friends on Saturday when we were gatecrashed by a large creature the size of a small bat. It flew in through the open patio doors and caused brief pandemonium while we chased it around to capture, identify and eject. It was of course a Hawk moth and a quick rummage in the moth book confirmed it as the Elephant variety. I know what you're thinking, it doesn't look at all like an Elephant and you're right. But it does as a caterpillar when it sports a trunk like snout formed by it's head and thorax. This is waved around menacingly when alarmed to scare off predators..............honestly.



Warren Baker said...

Was it worth the stings and scratches for the PH Phil ? Of course it was :-)

I think your ID on the rest is ok, but Greenie will soon find you out if not :-)

I have still never seen a ringlet :-(

Phil said...

Warren, the Ringlets were my first too. Seems to be a good few about at NH at the mo. You should have a trip down memory lane and come down sometime.

Greenie said...

Phil ,
Too much information on the shorts front .
All your IDs are fine . Might help , Meadow Brown has black spots on the underwing , Gatekeeper , as per your shots , white spots , and Small Heath light spots and very rarely seen with open wings . Well done with the new species .
Colourful gatecrashers down your way . Was it fancy dress ?

ShySongbird said...

Another most enjoyable post Phil :) I was sure I had never seen a Ringlet but Greenie assured me I must have and sure enough I have seen more of them this last week than any other species, I still don't recall seeing them other years but perhaps I did without realising! I think it must be a particularly good year for them.

I'm sure I have never seen a PH but would love to. I haven't seen any Gatekeepers so far this year or Red Admirals which are one of my favourites too.

I would love to see an Elephant Hawk Moth, I was admiring it in a book only yesterday.