Clouded Buff - male - Bicton Common
I had a stroll around Bicton Common after work this afternoon, chiefly to look for Silver-studded Blues. I failed to find any, in less than perfect conditions, but I was chuffed to find this beautiful Clouded Buff - a species that I've only ever seen once before and that was many years ago, somewhere in central France. A gorgeous combination of custard-yellow and pink renders it one of the more distinctive species. It is a heathland species and according to 'Waring and Townsend' the larvae feed on 'Heathers and various herbaceous plants, including Sheep's Sorrel, Devil's-bit Scabious, Common Dog Violet and plantains'. Several July Belle and a Grass Emerald were also found but the only butterfly I saw was a single Small Heath.
Birds seen included Redpoll and 4 Crossbill. A pair of Tufted Duck on Blackhill Quarry pools were accompanying two recently-fledged ducklings - a small brood but clear evidence of breeding!
Bee sp - a tiny species and one of two seen on Heather.