Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Today actually seemed like a late July day and a walk along the cliffs in the sunshine was full of wildflowers, butterflies and bugs.

One of the smaller, and prettiest of the brown butterflies, is the Gate Keeper. This is the female, when I was young we knew this species as the Hedge Brown, but this name seems to have been superseded now.
The male has a slightly different pattern on its upperside. Both were flying with Meadow Browns, which they interact with chasing around before settling back down, often amongst the grass and hence difficult to see.

Wild Carrot looks as if it has a lacy top and it seem to attract quite a lot of insect life.

This small beetle is Oedemera nobilis. Only the male has the swollen legs.

One of the challenges is to identify the "small skippers". Both Small Skipper and Essex Skipper occur in similar habitats and are very similar. The Small skipper has pale tips on the underside of the antennae, while the Essex Skippers' are all dark. Not an easy field mark to see.

I think that the antennae on this one are all dark making it an Essex Skipper. If I'm wrong on any of my identifications, I apologise, but if you spot any errors please lease me a comment.

Other Wildlife. As I was crawling about photographing Skippers I heard both Whimbrel and Ring Plover calling. They were probably below the top of the cliff, but a sure sign that Autumn is approaching! The gulls beyond hope points kicked up a fuss for a while, but I couldn't see the reason, however as I walked down I met a knowedgeable walker from Deal who told me he'd seen the gulls mobbing a Buzzard.

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