Sunday was a day for recovering after the excesses of Saturday night entertaining so we were taking it easy. The sun deigned to put in another appearance (Saturday was good, too) and I thought things were a little too laid back so I finally dragged myself back to our local Sandhouse Lane Nature Reserve to see what the locals were up to. Now we’re into August things certainly seemed a little quieter but I did find a few specimens at which to point my camera.
My first victim was what I now believe to be a female Common Darter (left). Originally I suspected it was a female Keeled Skimmer. Unfortunately my Insects of Britain and Western Europe field guide, purchased by Carol for me last year, is particularly poor on the female of the species, showing only a few, and some confusion arises. Internet photographs to the rescue, thankfully. This specimen’s right hind wing is missing a wing tip, unfortunately, but it was worth capturing. The rest of the inhabitants of my butterfly patch were the more common suspects this year: Painted Ladies and Large Whites. I managed to snag a Large White (right) with partially open wings just to add to my collection but I really need to adopt my Corfiot Cleopatra hunting technique for these, catching them in flight. That technique would be made easier with Corfiot levels of sunshine, though.
A moth with which I was unfamiliar dropped in on the thistles and began feeding, fluttering rapidly all the while and never resting. I banged off a few speculative frames and was delighted to find that I’d lucked out; one fortuitous shot captured the wing patterns pretty well. Back at the ranch, I noticed what I hoped would be a distinctive white mark on both forewings so I began flicking through my trusty insect identification book again. Sure enough, the Y-shaped white mark gives a number of similar moths their names. The constant fluttering whilst feeding makes me think that this one is the so-called Silver-Y moth. (There are also Beautiful Golden-Y and Plain Golden-Y moths.)
Wandering around the reserve I spotted what I thought was a different blue butterfly, one of those with little or no blue colouration. Like the dragonfly, It wasn’t a great specimen but I snapped it for identification. Maybe the damaged specimens are due to the fact that we’re coming towards the end of the season after some frenetic mating and territorial spats. My “new” blue turns out to be the female Common Blue, after all. I’ve repeated my male Common Blue shot for comparison.