Over the weekend I was lucky enough to be invited to help out on one of Richard Lewington’s guided butterfly walks.
Richard is not only fantastic at spotting and identifying butterflies but illustrating them as well. Check out his website http://www.richardlewington.co.uk/
Going on a guided walk with an expert really opens your eyes up to things that I would have never noticed walking around on my own.
Even though we started the walk mid morning the temperature was already soaring up to nearly 30 degrees.
The walk down to the woods produced plenty of Whites, Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns and Ringlets, either in the meadows, beside the path or around the brambles on the approach to the woods.
I had visited the woods in the evening prior to this walk so I already knew that the next corner was full of Silver-washed fritillaries (fingers crossed). We weren’t disappointed and the next 10 minutes or so were spent watching these huge butterflies sail over the bracken.
The oak tree that towered over the bracken was teeming with Purple hairstreaks, although without Richard’s knowledge most of us would have probably missed them.
The conversation turned to the lack of Speckled Woods, and right on cue we spotted two bickering over territory.
The group headed out to a field where Purple Emperors and White Admirals have been sighted in the past, but today we were unlucky.
Heading back we popped out of the wood in to a corner of a field which has been left wild and is now thick with ragwort, thistles and nettles. This split the group in to those who wanted to take photos of the numerous Marbled whites, Small Skippers, Green Veined Whites, Brimstone, Small whites, Large whites, Ringlets, Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers (I think I’ve remembered them all), and to those of us who were now just interested in seeking shade.
The last woodland ride was another chance to see a White admiral, but again no show.
It was a brilliant morning organised by Richard Lewington and Abingdon Naturalists