Wednesday, 27 June 2012


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!


Chris said...

beautiful post and pictures Phil but I would not be able to amke snakes pictures (even the glass ones) cause I don't like them ;-)

Greenie said...

Phil ,
I'm sure I recognise some of those reptiles ! From here would say your Adder is male , but the 'ginger' one would be female . Yes , both Skippers are Large , the marbling on the wings being the ID .
Nice to see the Fragrant Orchids are in flower , second Brimstone shot . The Brimstones just have a single generaton , normally emerging in August onwards , then hopefully surviving round till the following Spring , when they mate and die .
As for having a go at my adult content , two males and a single female Slow Worm in the same shot , and a female Broad-bodied Chaser 'in drag' I presume , as you referred to her as 'him'!

ShySongbird said...

A most enjoyable post Phil with some lovely, colourful photos! One could almost be fooled into thinking it's Summer ;-) So nice to see the butterflies, every one feels like a bonus this year! The Marbled White is such a beauty. The only Brimstones I have seen this time were rapid fly pasts earlier in the year. That first skipper photo in particular is a cracker!

Lovely to see the orchids too and also the smart looking BbC.

Mike Attwood said...

Good day, good shots, good post.

Jason K said...

What a cracking selection of wildlife and great photos to match too! Love the photo of 'Stumpy' mate