Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Silver-studded Blues (Plebejus argus subsp. caernensis) on the Great Orme

July 8, 2013:
After visiting the Shropshire site, it was interesting to see this endemic subspecies at its classic locality on the limestones of the Great Orme. It is only known from here and a few other sites close by where it has been introduced.

The males are rather similar to subsp. argus but the females can be quite different, especially in regard to the wings' uppersides which can be shot with a bright blue sheen and orange markings. They vary appreciably in this respect. Also, both sexes are noticeably smaller than in subsp. argus and the females here are even smaller than the males.

A range of males and females are shown below.



Silver-studded Blues (Plebejus argus subsp. argus) in Shropshire

July 6, 2013:
Following a poor Spring, these butterflies were late emerging at this heathland site near Whitchurch but now the hot weather had arrived they were present in large numbers. They are of the subspecies argus.

Clumps of heather and raised hummocks with Lotus corniculatus were the favoured habitats. The males are bright blue above, edged with black and with undersides silvery grey. The females are mainly drab brown above with a brownish sheen apparent on the underside. Both sexes have well marked underside lunules with varying amouts of the silver studs visible.

A mixture of male and females are shown below.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Scarce Chasers on the River Avon in Worcestershire

June 30, 2013:
A hot sunny day provided ideal conditions for Scarce Chasers, which here are close to their northern British limit. The males are extremely territorial, returning to the same patch of riverside vegetation when disturbed. They can be inquisitive and will hover close whilst investigating an intruder. Males have a bright blue pruinesence on the abdomen whilst female are orange-brown.

Male Red-eyed Damselflies perched on lily-pads out in the river.

 There were also White-legged Damselflies and an enormous number of Banded Demoiselles.


Hairy Dragonfly in Cheshire

June 25, 2013:
Cheshire is the northern British limit for this 'hawker' dragonfly which is found there only very locally. It favours canals, slow moving rivers, and sheltered ponds. Here, several were flying at a fishing pool surrounded by trees. They patrolled regularly low over the water surface, perching only ocasionally.

Present also were Red-eyed Damselflies, the males defending their territories from perches out on the lily-pads. Unfortunately, the latter were much reduced having been cleared away for fishing purposes.

On the grass nearby the Welsh Chafer beetle (Hoplia philanthus) was found.