Gently down the stream

By Miranda1008

Fighting and flirting

Today I couldn't resist another trip to Morn Hill for butterflies.  This is a male marbled white on Field Scabious (Knautia arvensis).  You can see he's been fighting.  He's lost an antenna and I'm not sure he has a full quota of legs.  His wings are also ripped, possibly a close escape from a bird, but he seems happy enough feeding here.  Goodness, though, butterflies do spend a lot of time fighting eachother and flirting - I wish sometimes they would concentrate more on feeding to make a blipper's life easier.

Interestingly (well, sorry, interesting to me, so this is a bit of diary info) I have never seen marbled whites on Morn Hill before and have mostly blipped them on Barton Farm.  Today I saw many of these marbled beings, also large whites, green veined whites and brimstones.  And hundreds and hundreds of brown butterflies.  Apart from that, one red admiral only, no other large bright butterflies and no blues at all. 

Usually you can't move for blues up there at this time of year.  However, there was less grazing on the reserve in the winter so the grass is very much longer than usual and the balance of wildflowers has changed.  A mass of ragwort, which isn't usual, quantities of pyramidal orchids ditto, much less sainfoin.  I'm sure the managed changes are for good reason, but in some ways it's a bit sad.

Just as I was leaving I met an old friend who told me Chris Packham had been up there in the week filming.  He said the results were on iplayer but I couldn't find it, only the lovely film of CP walking the Itchin Way from Eastleigh to Winchester.  Ah well, I shall have to have another scout sometime.

And a reminder for those it interests, from today we're on to WildFlowerWeek21_17

That's all.  It's been incredibly hot so I got buses both way to stop me expiring.  And now I have to cook supper.

Happy Sunday evening/Monday morning  xx

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