Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Chalk grassland butterflies at Aston Rowant

[Chalk-hill Blue male]

August 15, 2011:
It being almost one year to the day, another visit to the Chilterns to the butterfly-rich grassland at Aston Rowant was now due. Conditions were reasonable but still less than ideal with a very strong breeze and intermittent sunshine. Flying here were many Chalk-hill Blues which especially favoured patches of Marjoram for nectaring. At the same place there were also several Brown Argus similarly attracted to the flowers.

[Chalk-hill Blue male, both above]

[Brown Argus, both above]

[Chalk-hill Blue male and Brown Argus female]

Above the short turf, very fast-flying Silver-spotted Skippers would appear during bursts of sunshine but quickly settled to perch on the bare gravelly rabbit scrapes when the sun disappered. This enabled them to benefit from the heat radiated by the stony surface.

[Silver-spotted Skipper male, both above]

On one occasion a brief glipse was gained of a very bright light blue butterfly, very likely to be an Adonis Blue, but it disappeared before it could definitely be confirmed. Adonis's are known to occur at this site although in very low numbers. There were also many Meadow Browns and Small Heaths as well as a few Small Coppers.

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