Sunday, 27 May 2012

Spring Skipper Event (Saturday 26th May 2012)

Vinehall Forest was at its glorious best as eleven of us gathered in Footland Wood car-park in preparation for the Spring Skipper Walk of 2012.

We made a great start when Martyn Parslow spotted a Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus) butterfly in the heathy area adjacent to the car park. That was the first one recorded in Vinehall this year.

It was good to see so many of the old friends of the ‘Rother Woods Project’ who turned up for this event. This was fortunate as it meant we had a lot of skipper spotting expertise on hand. So it wasn’t long before we spotted our first Dingy Skipper (Erynnis tages).

(Dingy Skipper: Photo by Doug Neve; 26/05/2012)

Once we had seen our first Dingy Skipper the next half dozen followed quickly. We soon spotted a Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus malvae) too.

(Grizzled Skipper; Photo by Doug Neve; 26/05/2012)

For more on Grizzled Skippers see Stuart's post (Grizzled Skippers at Beckley Wood).

We also saw many other butterflies, including a Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta), many male Orange-tips (Anthocharis cardamines), male Brimstones (Gonepteryx rhamni), a Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas) and a Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria).

(Speckled Wood; Photo by Doug Neve; 26/05/2012)

We were also extremely conscientious about naming the white butterflies unless we could get an acccurate sighting. The close focus binoculars were invaluable for this task. So we positively identified several Green-veined Whites (Pieris napi), a female Orange-tip, a female Brimstone (made somewhat easier as it was receiving considerable attention from a male Brimstone) and a Large White (Pieris brassicae).

For more on identifying white butterflies; Identifying White Butterflies

We also saw many Speckled Yellow Moths (Pseudopanthera macularia) which seem to be doing well in all woodlands this year.

(Photo by Doug Neve; 26/05/2012)

I was just remarking to somebody that when you go out for a walk you will often be surprised by something totally unexpected, then Steve Whiting noticed this Spider-hunting Wasp (FAMILY POMILIDFAE) dragging off spider prey nearly twice her size.

(Photo by yours truly, needs a bit of zoom in and some imagination!)

So a big thank you to Stuart, Susanne, Steve, Peter, Anna, Doug, Heather, Rodney, Martyn and Lynn for a most informative, memorable and enjoyable Spring Skipper Walk.

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