Tuesday, July 23, 2019

πŸ“– Aston Rowant NR

☀️32C Tuesday 23rd May 2019 ~A drop off at Heathrow airport this morning gave me the perfect opportunity for a quick visit to Aston Rowant Nature Reserve on route home.

Silver-spotted Skipper ~ From last years visit to Aston Rowant NR
Perched high on the Chilterns escarpment, the reserve contains flower-rich chalk grassland, woodland and juniper scrub. There are fantastic views over the Oxford plain (which unfortunately includes the busy M40 motorway) and it's a great place to watch Red Kites soaring overhead. However, it's also an excellent place to see Silver-spotted Skipper Butterfly and during last years visit on July 25th they were plentiful with 32 recorded.

One of a good number of Chalk-hill Blue
Similar to last years visit it was a sweltering and cloudless day with the temperature around 32C. The hill looked stunning with an array of wildflowers including great clumps of Oregano, plus Pyramidal and Common Spotted Orchids. I spent a good 90-minutes enjoying the many Chalk Hill Blues but unlike last year I only managed two Silver-spotted Skippers, both in my binoculars and flying off as I approached before I managed to secure a photo. There were a dozen Common Blues and although I didn't complete more individual counts I'll list all species noted at the end of the journal.

Originally ID'd as Chalk-hill Blue could this be Anonis Blue?
When I tweeted my sightings on the day I'd noted that there were no Adonis Blue's but on reflection one photograph in particular maybe a female Adonis? I'll check this out with my goto guys (they know who they are πŸ˜‰) However, with no images of the upper hind wing this may prove difficult, plus males are usually out first and there was no sign today!

Butterfly Species Noted:

Large White, Small White, Brimstone, Chalk-hill Blue, Common Blue, Peacock, Red Admiral, Comma, Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Ringlet, Essex Skipper, Small Skipper, Silver-spotted Skipper (2)

Other Images Of The Day...

Lots of beautiful Oregano at the lower end of the escarpment

I think this is Small Scabious ~ Scabiosa columbaria

Clustered Bellflower ~ Campanula glomerata