17 August 2017 Shipton Bellinger

Meadow Brown
Wayfaring Tree berries

Five members undertook the not insignificant journey to these downs in conditions which the weather people promised would improve as the day went on - and they were right! We are now getting good at finding our way through Tidworth and the easier back route to the key part of the down for the scarce Brown Hairstreak. Later in their season they like gorging on the going over berries of the Wayfaring Tree, of which there are very many in this area and we have seen them doing exactly this in earlier years - never very many though. Last year there were two but on thistle flowers and judging by the look of the wayfaring berries then they had made a better choice. Sadly none were seen today which is the risk one takes when seeking out rare butterflies. However, other butterflies abounded and we recorded twelve species in all including lots of Meadow Brown and Common Blue, second generation Brown Argus and a Dingy Skipper which only occasionally does a second generation. Speckled Wood which had a very poor year in 2016 were plentiful in the little glades. The down is rich in wildflowers and among many others we noted Red Bartsia, Vipers Bugloss, Weld, Centaury and Harebell. Birdlife was not noticeable and maybe it did not like the army helicopters which flew over regularly low and noisily. 

All photos © Richard Smith

Common Blue - male
Speckled Wood

Robin's Pincushion Gall
Diplolepis rosae