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Thursday, 25 June 2020

High Brown Fritillaries

Spent this scorcher of a day on Dartmoor with the family, enjoying a very relaxed afternoon around Venford Reservoir. It's not an area of Dartmoor I have explored much before, although have no idea why because it's a truly stunning part of the moor...

Looking north from the north east corner of Venford Res

Venford Brook


Whilst we were here Fritillaries were forever frustrating me by zipping around without stopping for breath. When I did eventually get a good look at one I was shocked to see it was a High Brown Fritillary - one of the rarest butterflies in the UK! 

High Brown Fritillary


The three Frits I saw settled were all High Brown, and the other 7-10 insects that I only saw in flight looked similar in every way, although am well aware of the Dark Green pitfall.  Am sure it's a known site, but a real delight to stumble upon without prior knowledge that's for sure.  

I think this one simply had to land because it was in such a state!  The wing shape was more akin to a Comma...

Sadly a bit distant, and that blade of bloody grass!


I also saw several Small Heaths and Large Skippers, along with singles of Brimstone and Green Hairstreak.  Bird-wise, Crossbills stole the show with almost constant calling and frequent small flocks flying over.  Hardly surprising though considering the movement that is underway at the moment - I bet Dartmoor is absolutely bursting at the seams with them!

Back to Fritillaries, and on Tuesday we visited the other Moor that Devon boasts, Exmoor.  I didn't see many birds to talk about, except for a lovely family of Garden Warblers, but it was great to see numerous Dark Green Fritillaries (too quick for photos) and my first Silver-washed Fritillary of the year...

Silver-washed Fritillary


Well that was a Fritillary-heavy post, which can't ever be a bad thing! I do have more content stacked up ready to blog, but it's late now so will have to wait for another day. Check back soon...


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