Small Blue and The Duke of Burgundy
We now only have 3 UK species of British Butterflies left to photograph
We visited Bison Hill, Totternhoe Knolls and Quarry , and Ivinghoe Beacon over the Bank Holiday weekend, 26th and 27th May.
Our target species was the Duke of Burgundy. However, when we were at the Totternhoe Quarry we saw lots of Small Blues at the foot of the quarry; they were often basking on patches of chalk in the grass to the right of the path. The habitat is, as you can see, chalk grassland.
The Quarry is the one almost directly opposite the the exit up the steps from the National Trust car park ( we walked miles to the top of the Knoll and to other quarries before we found the managed site)
A couple walking in the Quarry told us that they had seen the Duke of Burgundy at Ivinghoe Beacon, which is about 5 miles away. They were very specific and told us to park on the right-side verge just before the cattle grid, walk across the cattle grid and then look in the bushes on the right hand side. they had seen several there, including males fighting. It was 5.15 pm and we saw nothing so we booked a room using LateRooms.com and returned the following morning when we saw just one.
We went back to the quarry at Totternhoe and we more Small Blues. A different couple showed us to another area of the site where they had see the several of the Duke of Burgundy flying and fighting (they are said to be 'pugnacious'!)
This was the site they showed us - a very steep slope leading to the edge of a quarry - so we watched them and did not try to photograph them. In the picture above you can see the quarry edge and the tops of the trees growing in it.
At Bison Hill we saw lots of Green Hairstreaks feeding on blossom.
At Ivinghoe Beacon we saw lots of Dingy and Grizzled Skippers.
On all three sites we saw lots of Brimstones and Orange Tips.