Butterfly and Dragonfly Walks – 27th and 31st July

Unfortunately the weather was not very kind to us on the Wednesday walk and it remained resolutely overcast for the afternoon. However eleven people turned up and some insects were about. Gatekeepers were fairly numerous and it was possible to see males and females together, so that the males could be distinguished by their broad, dark sex brands across their forewings. A late Ringlet was found on the Lower Path along with five Peacocks and two Red Admirals. Green-veined and Small Whites were also found, but no Large Whites. Four Brown Hawkers were seen along the Lower Path and, near the river end, a male Common Blue butterfly was also seen. Several Speckled Woods were encountered along the way as well as some Common Blue damselflies. On the Causeway some Six-spot Burnets and their pupal cases were pointed out and a Shaded Broad Bar was found, Before the walk ended at the footbridge steps the chance was taken to find some Long-winged Coneheads.

The Sunday walk was a much sunnier affair, but only five people turned up. We walked along the Willow Walk and then the Lower Path to the river seeing much the same insects as before, but with the addition of a Small Tortoiseshell, two Commas and this time eight Peacocks. The highlight of the walk was finding two small colonies of Brown Argus amongst the Common Blues in the long grass of the Deep Pit banks, near the river and near the Small Gravel Pit. The salient features for distinguishing the Browns from the Blues were pointed out so that in the end we all could sort them out for ourselves. We also found a Small Skipper and Small Copper. On the Small Gravel Pit an Emperor was patrolling and several Common Blue damselflies were egg laying and three Banded Demoiselles were seen. On the way back a Latticed Heath was found and again a stop off near the top of the footbridge steps produced two Long-winged Coneheads.