Thursday, 8 July 2010

Marbled Brown?

July is the month when butterflies of many species are at their peak providing the weather is good.

Today I went to look at the colonies of Marbled White at Bockhill. Despite its name, the Marbled white isn't a white, it is in fact a brown, that is in terms of systematics. It is one of the butterflies that I think is even more stunning when viewing the under-side, even though the upper-side is a very striking pattern. The first colony I looked at is in the bottom "lay-by" as you approach the Monument car park. Unlike some butterflies it is unusual to find single Marbled Whites, they normally are found in groups that stick to a fairly small area. On the bank by the lay-by there were at least 20 individuals.

While I was watching them the resident Whitethroat spent much of the time singing, from the tree at the end of the lay-by. As far as I remember this bird was on territory here about April 20th. That's around 80 days ago. I you then consider how often it sings, from dawn to dusk, it must have repeated it's little song at least 175000 times. You would think to practice makes perfect, but it is still as scratchy as ever. The bird itself is looking a little bit worn, but this is not surprising as it has probably had a hard working couple of months.

Further along the path, on the way to Hope Point there are several groups or colonies of Marbled Whites. They are all still looking in good condition, so I suppose they are not long emerged.

Instead 0of the Whitethroat, I had the resident Corn Bunting singing to me here, and it really doesn't get many votes as a musician, the best description I've heard of the song is "like a bunch of keys being shaken". This bird has the distinction of being the singing Corn Bunting closest to France.

Along with the Marbled Whites there seem to be good numbers of Large Skippers this year. This looked a particularly brightly coloured individual.

Looking down the cliff towards Kingsdown There was a three masted sailing ship.

I couldn't resist this "big dandelion" type of seed head, they make such nice patterns. I'm sure there's a botanist out there who can tell me what it is. (Goatsbeard - Thanks)


Derek Faulkner said...


I'd be surprised if the seed head wasn't of Goatsbeard, which has yellow flowers. Their seed heads are everywhere at the moment. Alternatively it could be Salsify which is a similar flower but has purple flowers.

Susan said...

Goatsbeard was my thought too.

The Marbled White's are beautiful butterflies aren't they? In French they are called Demi-Deuil ('half-mourning').

Warren Baker said...

What a great Corn Bunting photo. Put it on the K.O.S website Tony