Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Elmley Butterflies and New Hythe

As I said in my post yesterday, Elmley was awash with butterflies on monday. In all I counted twelve species assuming the Skippers don't trip me up!


The Common Blues lived up to their name and were seen (and followed) at regular intervals during my walk.



For sheer numbers the Gatekeepers won hands down. I wouldn't say there were swarms of them but if you put them all together you would have had a fair sized cloud.


This seems to have been a good year for Small Tortoiseshells, last year I saw nowhere near the number that i've seen this year at various sites in Kent & Sussex.


I know the Burnets are moths not butterflies but they look nice so i've included them. I seem to be seeing more 6 spots about now where as earlier in the summer the 5 spot seemed more prolific.


On the approach to the third hide there were four or five of the large plants pictured above which I think are Greater Burdock, and there were maybe 100 butterflies on and around them. I don't think i've ever seen so many butterflies in one small area. It was quite something walking past and seeing them all lift off and then quickly settle again.


Skippers were another species that were well represented. I think they were mostly Smalls but I guess Essex and Large could also have been present, it's so difficult to tell, especially when they're on the wing.

Many thanks to Greenie (click on the link to visit his blog) for pointing out that the Skippers are probably the Essex variety, which i'm happy to take his word for. And also that the plant below is indeed Sea Lavender.

Two Small Coppers at the same time! How good is that? I don't know what the plant is in the picture above and the one below but whatever it is the butterflies absolutely loved it. There were only three of these lovely little plants just as you come to the tall hide on the right by the sea wall but I wish there had been more.


The same plant was also very attractive to the Brown Argus there were three here and that was the only place I saw this species. It's easy to see how they are mistaken for Common Blues when their wings are closed.


Yes, I know i've already featured Common Blues but I liked this picture and it does highlight the difference with the Brown Argus.


Just for good measure here's a shot of the two of them together with their wings open.

And finally...........................I had a quick hour down at the Sunken Marsh this morning in a last ditch attempt to add the very elusive Turtle Dove to my New Hythe year list and yippee, there it was sitting on the wires waiting for me! All things come to those who wait and persevere. Shame about the photo though, in my haste to record the occasion before it flew off never to be seen again, I failed to check the camera settings, hence the odd exposure.



Greenie said...

Phil ,
Firstly , well done with finally nailing the Turtle Dove , I'm sure you've dreamed of doing that several times .
From here , I think both your Skippers are Essex , underside of tip of antennae black .
Your Burdock could be Lesser or Greater , not much difference in size .
All your butterflies on the lilac/blue plant are on Sea Lavender-Limonium vulgare .
CB ( obviously ) and BA together are both males .
Great set of shots .

Warren Baker said...

Turtle Dove at last Phil! you persevered and were rewarded :-)

You can update you year list side bar now ;-)

Ken Browne. said...

Hi Phil.
What a great trip to Elmley you had. What I wouldn't give to see Brown Argus, and skippers. Never seen them yet. Good tick with the T/Dove, another one I haven't caught up with yet this year.
Nice set of photo's Phil, especially the Argus, and Blue together.

Jann E. said...

Phil, thank you for visiting and commenting at my blog! Your blog is superb! Love your header photo, what a stunning shot. Esp love your gatekeeper photos this post, and seeing the burnets, new to me. But all are lovely shots.

Jolly Princess said...

Great photos my friend. The TURTLE DOVE photo is awesome!

Just blog hopping. Have a great weekend. :)