Thursday, 2 August 2018

The Secret Garden butterflies at Cranford Park

I may get a little over excited in this blog post so please bear with me
Yesterday before I left Cranford Park I quickly popped in to the Secret Garden - I was chatting with Martyn when I spotted what I thought was a large pale Comma but something didn't feel right about it - I couldn't linger though and had to leave
It niggled me all evening that I had seen something a little 'different' so today I went back to the Secret Garden and spent a very pleasant three hours in there
Within minutes of me arriving the large washed out butterfly again appeared and even though it was high on the buddleia I was ready with my camera - a quick check on the back of the screen confirmed my suspicions - this wasn't a large pale Comma - this was a very tatty male Silver-washed Fritillary !!!!!!!!!! Not only was this my first ever sighting of this large butterfly but I suspect it may be a first for Cranford Park too - I'm in touch with my UKBMS mentor and will let you know when I hear from him
So be prepared for a complete overload of photos

It's not an overly rare butterfly but it is a localised one and is mainly seen only in the south  - it is the largest of our resident butterflies and has a powerful gliding flight pattern
I'm still glowing from my unexpected find
My second nice find of the day was another worn butterfly
It's a Purple Hairstreak - This is my third sighting of one in as many weeks - normally these small butterflies are only seen flying around the tops of oak trees but the three I've seen this season have all been low down on the ground (which has made trying to photograph them really difficult) - todays one also was low down in vegetation and kept disappearing under leaves so was incredibly hard to focus on

So far 2018 has been an incredible butterfly season for me with now two new 'patch ticks' and some great counts when doing my transect
The third nice surprise today was the sighting of a Jersey Tiger moth - my second sighting this season - and there wasn't just one there were two sheltering in the ivy

Sometimes the best days are the unplanned ones like today
Other butterflies seen in the Secret Garden were several Red Admirals

a couple of Small Coppers

and an incredible number of Holly Blues

I have never seen so many in one concentrated area
Other critters seen were the beautiful tiny Mint moth

and two hawker species of dragonfly

An absolutely incredible three hours spent in the walled garden and one that I will never forget

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