Saturday, 2 August 2014


This is the 'streak'. A Purple Hairstreak. A tatty Purple Hairstreak. And it's a New Hythe Purple Hairstreak. My first for two years here and much as I would have liked a pristine example, i'm happy to settle for this one. I think the purple patch on the forewings seen below makes it a female, although as I said, she has seen better days. 

As usual this Black-tailed Skimmer chose an unappealing surface to land on. The dark wood holds the warmth of the sun nicely, so I can't blame it. It looks to be eyeing up the little grasshopper who was also using the log. He should hop it before he becomes lunch.

 The sun went in for a while prompting some butterflies and insects to settle and allow a picture or two. Like the Brimstone above. It's hard to resist pointing a lens at such a photogenic and sometimes quite obliging butterfly as this one.
The hoverfly below is Volucella zonaria, sometimes referred to as the Hornet mimic for obvious reasons. Harmless, like all the hoverflies and not always so obliging as this one who was awaiting the return of the sunshine.

And so to the 'damsels in distress'.

This Common Blue (I think) damselfly flew into the spider's trap while Terry and I searched for dragonflies on Abbey Mead lake. It took but a few seconds for the spider to emerge, subdue and truss up the hapless damselfly ready for consumption some time later. What a gruesome end.

This damselfly may have suffered a similarly gruesome end. Pond skaters can detect movements on the water  caused by struggling insects and will quickly arrive for a meal, even while mating it would seem!

This Emperor dragonfly was ovipositing on Abbey Mead during a previous visit. She spent some time laying her eggs just below the surface in various different locations and with little or no regard for my presence.

I mentioned something 'very blue'. This is it, you can't get much bluer than this male Common Blue butterfly. There were several flying in the area of the west scrub, all pristine and probably all from the second brood.

Finally, we've had a bit of excitement in the garden since I last posted. While sitting on the patio enjoying the warm evenings, Carol and I watched a Tawny Owl fly in and land in a tree just thirty feet from where we were sitting. Two evenings ago, in similar circumstances, we had a visit from two Little Owls who sat in the same tree and called loudly for a minute or two before flying off. Two great moments and two great garden ticks.


Greenie said...

Phil ,
Nice mix of species on Abbey Mead and the scrub .
PHs have been few and far between this year , well done on nailing one .
I'd say CBD for the spider's meal too .
Sounds idyllic , sitting in the garden listening to Owls . Lucky you , and Carol of course .

Jason K said...

A great read Phil...and great mix of species. Loving the Hornet mimic hoverfly, will have to keep my eyes peeled for one of those

Warren Baker said...

I've seen very few Purple Hairstreak here this year Phil, and have not got a single photo of one as a consequence :-(

Wouldn't mind a visit from one of those Emperor Dragons, especially if it sits nicely like your one!

Mike Attwood said...

Great post Phil. God pics too!

Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Hi Phil.. Nice pictures and beautiful header..Have a great summer..