Tuesday 17 May 2011

Sand Point and a Bit of Patch Stuff...No Birds Though

Yesterday, me and three other hopeless optimists went up to Sand Point near Weston-super-mare, hoping to see the Glanville Fritillary. We had naively believed the weather forecast which was for a warm, cloudy day with sunny spells and a moderate breeze. We got a cloudy, cool day without sunny spells and a strong breeze. To be fair the weather was glorious as we left Devon though. The chances of seeing any butterflies were extremely low. Not to worry though because Sand Point is also home to the rare and rather lovely Cheddar Pink which was showing superbly! After admiring this splendid plant for a while we never the less had a good look for the Glanville Fritillaries (still hopelessly optimistic) and even though there weren't any on the wing we were lucky enough to spot several (seven in total) resting on flower heads and in the grass. At one point the sun tried its very hardest (or so it seemed) to shine for us and the resultant precious few minutes of watery sunshine did the trick, stirring the butterflies out of their torpid state. Well, almost, but they  did open up their wings briefly, allowing for some nice photo opportunities.

Cheddar Pink
 The scent of this beautiful plant was so strong I could easily smell it even in the 
strong wind which was blowing. It's growing right on the edge of a cliff as you can see. For some reason I had an overwhelming urge to see it from below so climbed down the cliff and into a bramble patch...
...worth it? Probably not. Hard climb back too!

Glanville Fritillary
Three different individuals,  
The top one a bit washed-out, the bottom one looked freshly emerged.
 The under-wings are simply stunning. 
This one had warmed up enough to start nectaring.
 Gorgeous!...Baby-blue eyes too.

I spotted this pair of Cream-spot Tiger Moths. I think the faded one's a male (feathered antennae) and the fresh one's a female.

I also found a Cream-spot Tiger out on the road outside my house a few days ago. Unfortunately it was a bit moribund. I think it had been hit by a car. Still, I took a couple of photos to preserve it for posterity. Yes, I know...I'm all heart!

I've been out and about locally for the last couple of weeks looking for more Small Blues. I've seen 13 in total, in four different locations between Branscombe and Culverhole to the east of Seaton.

 Small Blues

I've taken photos of several other butterflies and interesting insects too.

 Wood White.
 Common Blue
Clouded Yellow. First I've seen this year.
How many moths can fit on a Buttercup? These are a new moth species for me. I must have seen them before I just haven't noticed them. They are Micropterix calthella. A teeny-weeny moth that feeds on pollen grains.

 I think these may be Bronze Shield Bugs (Eysarcoris fabricii)

I'd never seen one of these stunning bugs before. It's a Corizus hyoscyami, which as far as I'm aware doesn't have a common name. A once rare bug of coastal dunes, which is now becoming more regular inland apparently. The plant it was feeding on was very pretty...
Rock Sea-spurrey. (Spergularia rubicola)

Finally, in my last post ( remember that? It was an awful long tome ago!) I said I'd try and get some better photos of the Ruby-tailed Wasp.
I think I did.


Bob Hastie said...

Great post Karen
Love the first ruby-tailed wasp photo.
Never managed a good photo of these - they never seem to stay still.

Wilma said...

terrific photos in this post, Karen. You have seen so many butterflies; I'm quite envious. To say the wasp is superb is an understaement.

Stuart Price said...

Wow, a Ruby Tailed Wasp-that's a new one to me..........

Karen Woolley said...

Thanks for the comments all.

The Ruby-tailed wasps are stunning creatures. Funny thing is they are so small I hadn't noticed them before. I will have to look more closely at other tiny critters in future.