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You wait ages for one then……

28 Jul
Marbled White with Trombidium mite

Marbled White with Trombidium mite

The late start to the natural year, due to the delayed end to spring, meant there were very few butterflies around until very recently and then the very warm spell caused them to appear to large numbers. Have a walk along the cliff and you will lot’s of very busy butterflies in the hedges, brambles, blackthorn and in the grass.  Many are quite easily identified including (this quite a list..) the Small Skipper, Peacock, Meadow Brown, Comma, Gatekeeper, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Ringlet, Common Blue, Small White, Green-Veined White, Marbled White. It’s quite possible you could see all of these in a single 1 hour meander around the Cliff.
The photo above is of a Marbled White with a small red dot in the middle of its body. This is a parasitic mite which can occur in quite large numbers on a single butterfly although, apparently, it doesn’t harm the butterfly too much. This picture was taken on the Cliff last week so keep your eyes peeled.
There is a really good identification guide available at http://www.bigbutterflycount.org/ and if you do identify any please add your findings to the site – your contributions really do help. It’s a good way of getting children outside and maybe, for example, get them to identify say 8 different types.
There is a fantastic site for butterflies about 5 miles away called West Yatton Down near Castle Coombe. It’s possible to see 26 species on a single walk.
The fine weather has enabled a number of reptiles to be much more active. Much to my amazement one of our cats brought home a Grass Snake (see photo). Luckily the snake was OK after the removal of said cat. It was playing dead until it saw a chance to make a break. Grass Snakes, which are completely harmless to humans (but they do like a nice frog or toad), can get up to 2 feet long and are easily identified by the yellow band behind the head.
Common Blue

Common Blue

Small Skipper

Small Skipper

Comma

Comma

Grass Snake July 2013

Grass Snake – the yellow band behind the head is really clear

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