Saturday, 7 July 2012

White Admirals at Bricket Wood! (7th July)

I met up at Bricket Wood with Bob Harris (our guide for the day), Jenny Hill and John Fisher, and together we toured around the eastern side of Bricket Wood in search of the locally famous population of White Admirals, Purple Emperors and Silver-washed Fritillary.  Despite starting out in pouring rain, the weather did begin to clear up and we soon had our first common butterfly species of the day including Ringlet and Meadow Brown.  Half way down the ride, we began scanning a small clearing were small shrubs dominated and bramble bordered the path.  After some time waiting we were rewarded with a stunning WHITE ADMIRAL which appeared over the top of the shrubbery!

White Admiral

No sooner had one appeared, than we soon had a total of at least 4 White Admirals along the same ride.  Even better, they came frequently down to the forest floor to drink the nectar from the bramble flowers allowing the opportunity for some quick pics.  Near the end of the path, Jenny picked out our second target species for the day, an equally stunning and spectacular SILVER-WASHED FRITILLARY!

 Silver-washed Fritillary

The far eastern side of the wood opens out into a clearing where several more species were in flight, including 20+ Marbled Whites (when the sun was shinning), 5+ Large Skippers, 4+ Small Skippers, even more Meadow Browns, Ringlets and 3+ Speckled Woods, as well as a Southern Hawker.  Bob also pointed out a group of Heath Spotted Orchids which he had found on his previous visit, a species I haven't often seen in the county.

 Large Skipper

 Marbled White

 Small Skipper

 Heath Spotted Orchid

Although the birding was slow, we were more than occupied with butterflies, a great substitute for birding during the quieter summer months.  Bob and I also visited a popular place for Purple Emperors on the western side of the wood but unfortunately didn't see either Purple Emperors or Hairstreaks (all the same a good reason to return to the site).  However, whilst sat watching over the pond, another White Admiral appeared over the sallows making a grand total of 7 WHITE ADMIRALS for the day!  A Hobby also flew over (the only bird of note for the day).


Many thanks again to Bob Harris for an amazing and very rewarding walk around Bricket Wood Common and for coping with the total butterfly novice that I am.  Also many thanks for the company of Jenny Hill and John Fisher for making the trip even more enjoyable.

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