Saturday, 4 August 2007

The Lees at St Margaret's

The cliff top running from the Bluebirds Tea Rooms towards the Bay consists of a beautiful wildflower meadow, with some scrub and bushes. At the moment the dominant smell comes from the wild Marjoram is that is common on chalky areas.
Wild marjoram, Origanum vulgare, is the oregano used in cooking, and on warm still days its distinctive peppery scent carries a long way. It is very attractive to several butterfly and bee species.

There were quite a lot of butterflies around including a few common blues. The female above shows just a hint of blue coloration, without which it would look very similar to the Brown Argus.
Update I've looked at this again with Phil Chantler. The size of the top two orange spots and the wide white border probably means that my original thought of Brown Argos was right and the hint of blue is illusionary.

The Chalkhill Blue above is a bit of a strange specimen, being the colour of a male but having the pattern of a female.

As I was walking along the Lees the RAF rescue helicopter came by just above cliff height. I flew across the Bay and appeared to hover around for a while not far from the lighthouse. I don't know if it was on emergency business though.

Other Wildlife. A Reed Warbler was chuntering away (singing in a quiet sub-song way) in a scrubby area just below the Monument car park, presumably an early migrant, and there was a small trickle of Swallow going south. A Black Kite was reported from Whitfield at 2.15 pm, but if it came over me I did see it!
This small moth, wingspan 20mm was new to the garden. It goes by the name of Pemplia formosa, and although it's an insignificant beast I think it's eye-catching when magnified.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Tony. I love the blog, keep up the good work! The Chalkhill Blue is a female of the colour variation tithonus. Very interesting. Mike Watson