Silver-washed Fritillary – 2/8/2009

The weather in July has been really awful for insect-watching but I decided to visit the site on a mild, breezy and fairly sunny afternoon. At this time of year I like to stick to the first 2 fields because they tend to have the most nectar flowers and so attract a wider variety of insects.

There were the usual clouds of Painted Lady that we have got used to this summer, plus the usual browns and whites, with a few Peacocks and a lone Small Tortoishell. Common Blue and Chalkhill Blue were also seen on the Marjoram. But the star of the day was a single Silver-washed Fritillary, which soared out of Lower Hartslock Wood, settled for a while on some Knapweeds and then flew back into the wood after being disturbed by some passers by. We normally get Dark-Green Fritillary but I am pretty sure that this is a new species for the reserve!

Other insects seen: Tachina fera, Phasia hemiptera (male), Xanthogramma pedissequum, Chrystotoxum bicinctum, lots of Tiphia femorata on the unbels, Andrena hattorfiana on Scabious, lots of ‘ordinary’ tachinids like Exorista (rustica-group). Also a gorgeous, green metallic sawfly called Abia sericea, which was observed slowly feeding on a Wild Parsnip flower.

As I have said, the Marjoram was in full flower, along with plenty of Scabious & Knapweeds, Wild Carrot & Wild Parsnip, Clustered Bellflower, and a very nice patch of Dodder in full flower.

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