Tuesday 7 June 2011

A new butterfly!

Today's run took in the full length of Clay Lane, and after noting the increased number of Greylag Geese on London Road lake, found my way onto the lane with the hope of seeing something interesting.

The full length of the lane is a fun place - there's usually something to see flapping out of bushes or fluttering about the Cow Parsley that is absoloutely everywhere at the moment. A goldfinch posed on a hedge for me; a swallow cut through the air just over my head as I ran through the green wheat field at the end of the lane. Most trips I'll see a Bullfinch somewhere. Not today though.

Today, I thought I would take a detour through the hedge, near the rape and poppy field I talked about yesterday and had a close look at today - and found myself on a swiftly running out path in a pretty non descript field. Nothing to see. Nowhere to run. Turned around.

As I did so, I noticed a couple of Speckeld Woods settling on some long grass - they settle with wings spread so you can get a bloody good look, and was able to contrast the size and patterns of the two specimens - quite a noticeable difference, the base colour was a rather lighter brown on the smaller one too. But as I looked, a third set of a-fluttering wings flitted through my view, and settled on another stalk, wings closed this time.

I knew immediately this was a different butterfly family from the ones I'm used to seeing - the wings were a delta shape, the four of the grouped rather like the flight of a dart. The butterfly itself was a lovely golden brown-orange colour, with a dark edging to the wings. I had a feeling it was some kind of skipper, and sure enough when I got to this creaky little linux laptop, I found out that my best bet was...

A Large Skipper! Or...a Small Skipper! Or...an Essex Skipper! I am ashamed to report, in all my cretinous stupidity, that I failed to note the colour of the antennae tips, which is apparently about the easiest way of telling these butterflies apart. I will give myself a de-merit mark for ignorance. The wiki picture of the Large Skipper looks nearest, so I'll go with that.

The rest of the run was a squally drenching, leaving my khaki not very good or sensible running shorts nearly see through - nasty. Saw that the beds of Birds Foot Trefoil are out at Beacon Hill now.

NB 1 - I'm garbage and a half at botany - took ages of me (or my mother when I visited!) researching in the ancient Observers book of Wildflowers too remember what bloody Cow bloody Parsley is! Like the big droopy yellow Lily's of some kind I'm seeing in the water at the mo though. I promise I will beef up on my plants and post more pictures.

NB 2 - When I got home later on from a banana buying trip, daddy blackbird was feeding two well fledged, but still gaped and miles larger than he was blackbird chicks on my drive. They were really giving him the runaround too!

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