My friend David and I spent a few hours on the orchid clad North Downs today. I thought it was supposed to be sunny but apart from a few very brief spells it remained frustratingly cloudy and quite humid.
Clearly it was to the liking of the resident reptiles, with four Adders being seen, the above being a quite small female I think. Two other small Adders were seen and one other which I can only describe as ginger. We had a close encounter with this one which slipped away past our feet as we crouched down to examine a small plant. Just one Grass snake was seen, a large specimen basking in the open, who melted away silently into the long grass before I could snap him.
Slow worms were in plentiful supply, ranging in size from four inches or so to probably twelve inches or more. This little trio highlighted nicely the range of colour these endearing little creatures come in.
And then there was Stumpy, my old friend the Common Lizard, who's managing to smile despite his loss.
Butterflies! At last some butterflies. These are my first Skippers of the year, Large I think. Although the top one could be an alien species from a galaxy far, far, away by the look of it.
Ringlets made an appearance too, a handsome butterfly and today quite difficult to tell apart from Meadow Browns on the wing.
Above is a Grizzled Skipper, again the first of the year for me i'm ashamed to say. This one looks particularly grizzled and tatty around the edges and was the only one seen today.
Speckled Woods patrolled the hedgerows and shadier, cooler areas. Their long flight period making them one of the more reliable species to be seen during this disappointing year.
Only two Brimstones on the wing in a particularly sheltered spot, during a half hearted burst of weak sun. I'm presuming that it's a bit early for these to be second generation butterflies but i'm not really sure. The top one is a male and the bottom a female.
The last species of butterfly seen were stunning Marbled Whites.
There were two of them gliding effortlessly around before one finally deigned to touch down long enough for me to catch up with it and get a couple of shots. If these little beauties were the only things I'd seen today I would have been happy. I like them, they're my favourite. Until I change my mind.
Just one dragon seen, hardly surprising really given the habitat. It's a Chaser, just like me with the Marbled Whites, except he's Broad-bodied and i'm not!