Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Pearls ...

16 May 2013

Pearls of wisdom ...

Leaving Heyshott at around 1pm, my good friend Nick Broomer and I headed for private woodland in West Sussex. The site we were heading for holds a small, managed population of Pearl-bordered Fritillaries. Several visits so far this season have proven unproductive; though today seemed somewhat different and I felt confident that luck would be on our side. The area where the Fritillary occurs is comprised of three small areas of mixed age sweet chestnut coppice, with a classic underlay of violets and bugle. An initial slow walk through produced nothing. Further attempts still proved unproductive; but we weren't beaten - well not quite. As Nick walked along the edge of the clearing whilst I concentrated on the coppice, a single, freshly emerged male appeared in the grass at Nick's feet; this was followed shortly after by a second individual in slow flight amongst the coppice. It is my opinion that we had hit the site at exactly the time of the first emergence this season.

These were the only two Pearl-bordered Fritillaries we saw and it proved a fitting end to what has to be one of my most memorable days out looking for butterflies - perfect weather, perfect company and two of the rarest butterflies in Sussex.

Species seen:

Green-veined White
Small White
Dingy Skipper
Grizzled Skipper
Duke of Burgundy
Pearl-bordered Fritillary

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