|Nature Group Butterfly Trip||Saturday 17 July|
|The Nature Group's latest outing saw of small party travel to the Wiltshire/Hampshire border to photograph some of the butterflies on the wing in July. First stop was Bentley Woods, with many tall oak trees favoured by the elusive Purple Emperor, as well as our largest Fritillary, the Silver Washed Fritillary, and various more common species such as Ringlet, Gatekeeper and Skippers Large and Small. Despite various extremely smelly potions laid out as bait, only one Emperor was seen, and that nowhere near the bait. However, all the other butterflies were often seen on the wing, though finding them at rest for photography was very elusive. One pair of mating Ringlets did however provide a good static subject to photograph.
The group then took the short drive to West Dean Hill, to photograph chalk downland species, notably the Dark Green Fritillary and Marbled White. Again, the butterflies were very active on the wing, but difficult to find at rest, though all the group eventually managed images of the two target species.
From West Dean Hill, we took another short drive to Blackmoor Copse, hoping to catch sight of a White Admiral butterfly. The weather was becoming increasing humid and overcast, so very few butterflies of any species we seen, although a White Admiral was glimpsed but not photographed before flying up into the trees.
All told, the list of species seen by at least some of the party during the day was :
Large skipper, Small skipper, Green veined white, Brimstone, Red admiral, White admiral, Purple Emperor, Comma, Dark green fritillary, Silver washed fritillary, Meadow brown, Gatekeeper, Ringlet, Marbled white and Speckled wood.
Our thanks go to Robert Harvey for researching the sites and for coordinating the trip for those who went.