On Thursday morning I decided to visit the East Devon Commons to see if the Silver-studded Blues were on the wing yet, and indeed they were. Quite a few newly emerged ones in beautiful condition, mating pairs and best of all I spotted one which was very recently emerged and still being attended by ants!
The male of this mating pair still had slightly wavy wing edges suggesting he was very recently emerged. The 'silver studs' (blue spots) show particularly well on this female.
I found this female stuck fast in a spider's web, not a fitting end to her short life, so I extricated her so she might have chance to lay the eggs she was so obviously laden with.
No harm done.
This female was a typical chocolate brown colour on the upper wings...
...but this one was very unusual being quite iridescent in the sunshine. The colours on her wings look like the effect you see in an oily puddle, not a very attractive analogy but you know what I mean.
Newly emerged male attended by ants... How lucky is that?
It was so facinating to watch and photogrpah, I felt very privalidged.
So much so that when a heavy rain shower occurred I found a large burdock leaf and held it over the butterfly so he wouldn't be irreparably damaged before his first flight. I got very wet...but he didn't.
You can see on this where his wing is pressing on a plant which is preventing it unfurling properly.
He opens up his wings for the first time, you can see the dint where the plant was.
After his maiden flight, almost perfectly formed now.
On Friday I drove over to Collard Hill in Somerset for my annual Large Blue
pilgrimage, much earlier than I've been before but a fair few had already emerged. I had arranged to meet Dave and Doug there but I was late arriving due to an incident with my resident Herring Gulls
. I was just leaving the house with all my gear when the male gull scored a direct hit! I had to go back in and clean my coat and bag as well as may face!! I didn't have time to wash my hair though, and hoped a hat would suffice. Don't think I smelt too
awful! When I arrived a bit late Dave phoned me to say he had a recently emerged Large Blue
showing well with its wings open. I hurried over to the site as fast I could ( without running obviously) and it was still there like so...
Best views I've ever had of the open wings, this female just sat there in the grass waiting for a male to pass by and notice her.
There are a small group of Bee Orchids Var. trollii or 'Wasp Orchid' on the site. I hadn't known about these before so was keen to see them. They were at the bottom of the hill somewhere, but where? Not to worry, there was a teensy weensy little clue to their exact whereabouts....
Spot the orchid
After the crowds had departed we strolled down to see them and take a few photos.
Rare and unusual but I don't think any of the rare varieties of Bee-Orchid match the 'standard' form in beauty.
While we were looking at the Orchid we heard a call from the hillside that there was a mating pair, judging from the position of the people watching them one of the pair was 'our' obliging female. She'd certainly attracted a lot more than she's bargained for!!
She's in there somewhere!
As it clouded up the Large Blues took to the trees. the upper wings of this individual were the most amazing dark cobalt blue, shame I couldn't get of a photo of them.
There were a few Marbled Whites on the wing, my first this year, an Adonis Blue and this nice example of a Brown Argus.