A very warm and sunny day slightly spoilt by a strong south westerly breeze which kept the butterflies from flying. A group of seven of us set off along the Ouse Dyke where we encountered the usual selection of large, small and green-veined whites, speckled wood butterflies along with common darter, brown hawker and southern hawker dragonflies. We were even greeted by the call of the resident kingfisher as it speed off up the path.
On entering the site we soon found the first of our target species of common blue, which it became apparent are very abundant all around the site as there is plenty of birds-foot trefoil on the bank tops and sides. The next of our target species for the day was the small copper, only one of these was located at the top of a bank I know from previous visits to be one of the best places to find them. Unfortunately we weren’t so lucky with the small heath which failed to show at all, probably due to the wind whipping across the site.
Dropping down to the river bank to get some shelter from the wind we encountered our next target, brown argus. Or at least the back markers did, by the time the rest of us had backtracked it had disappeared into the long grass. However, we did all get to see this small butterfly later as altogether we encountered six in various parts of the lagoons.
The walk continued in the shelter of the hedge bordering the back of the gravel pits where plenty of common blue damselflies along with other butterflies and dragonflies were taking advantage of the windbreak offered by the hedge. Our return to the site found more brown argus on the central bund between the deep pit and the slurry lagoon, and also along the bottom pathe following the railway line.
By the end of the walk we had encountered ten butterfly species, including those mentioned above along with small tortoiseshell, brimstone, meadow brown and painted lady. Other highlights included two hobby, wheatear, whinchat and various warblers.