Sunday, 13 June 2010

Fairburn Ings RSPB (1)

This weekend we paid a visit to Fairburn Ings RSPB. Immediately on joining the path leading to the visitors centre this butterfly settled for little more than a few seconds, just long enough to grab a quick pick and for me to thank her kindly. A female Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni) methinks, with its hooked tip forewing, greenish white ground colour that is significantly more subdued than the vivid-yellow of the male.

We followed the path past the Kingfisher screen and up the slope where the bordering vegetation included patches of birds foot trefoil, thistles and vetch and which provided lucrative sightings. One of the delights was this brown butterfly, but on consulting the guides the brown upperwing and underwing marksings lead me to think this is a female Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus).

And here's a male Common Blue, 15 or so metres away from where I spotted the female not a great pic but good enough to illustrate the difference in upperwing colour between the sexes.

A field of ox eye daisy, buttercups and grasses near the spot where we spotted the Common Blues.

A couple of metres away, my first Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris) of the year, the black mark on its upper forewing indicate a male, the mark are the glandular scent scales or androconia that produce an odour to attract females.

Thanks to Pete for confirming the ID of this one. A daytime flying moth, a Silver Y (Autographa gamma) with the distinctive Y on the upperside of the forewing, which feeding here on a clover flower.

Striking clumps of purple orchids grew at intervals between the path and the stream. Not knowing one orchid from another I won't even hazard a guess but I would guess that they're a popular source of nectar for the many insects in the area.


  1. Have been trying some orchid idents with the help of Wild about Britain and my ident chart but its a bit like fungi ident -nightmare.

  2. What a lovely collection, Linda. The Brimstone butterfly is exquisite.

  3. Hello Citybirding, oh goodness, I might leave the ID'ing to you then.

    Hello Emma, the Brimstone was a wonderful immediate sighting. Embarassingly I never quite realised til recently just how subtle the colouring of the females are compared to the male.

    Thanks both for your speedy comments! Linda

  4. Nice pics again Linda and the moth is a Silver Y.

  5. Thanks Pete, I appreciate your help, Linda


Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
There was an error in this gadget