Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Lullingstone Beauties !

Lavender fields at Lullingstone
My Wife and probably my dog wanted a change of scenery this morning, so we decided on a walk around Lullingstone Park in the Darent Valley, gorgeous views all around the country park, one of my favoured haunts for Dark Green Fritillaries in the meadows and Banded Demoiselles along the river Darent.

So it was with some surprise that the small silver grey Butterfly which flew up from some bramble next to the path, turned out to be a little more special than I expected, about the size of a Holly Blue butterfly, which was what I expected it to be.

My first ever Purple Hairstreak, posed for a short while, always with its wings closed, which was disappointing, a glimpse of some purple iridescence would have been nice, I read that this particular Hairstreak likes to bask with its wings open, so obviously not in a basking mood.

Purple Hairstreak
This particular Hairstreak, one of the more common apparently, is always difficult to see, or is that just me, they usally found around Oak trees, again usally high up in the uppermost branches, a warm sunny evening is suppose to be the best time, I saw this one around midday.
They feed on the Honeydew found on the Oak trees, occasionally coming down to feed a ground level.

The orange markings could clearly be seen, but I must admit from a distance looked very non- descript

I can't be certain whether this is a male or female, when seen with open wings the male has much more purple on its wings, where the female has a much smaller patch on the upper wings only.

I feel very lucky to have come across this individual, common or not, it will probably be a long time before I see another I expect.

Plenty of other commoner Butterflies to be seen, Meadow Brown, Gatekeepers, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood, Green Veined White, Small White and a pristine Brimstone passing by at speed.

Meadow Brown

Honey Bee and Gatekeeper on Ragwort

Green Veined White
Small White.
Speckled Wood.

Along the River Darent, plenty of Common Blue Damselflies to be seen and a few of my favourite Banded Demoiselle, still have not seen a female yet this year.

Common Blue Damselfly

male Banded Demoiselle

Can't resist taking lots of photographs of these as they pose on the riverside vegetation, waiting for a female to appear.

Always an enjoyable walk in this beautiful country park.

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