17 Jul 2017

Close encounters of a fritillary kind

Dolgoch Quarry SWT Reserve - Wednesday, 12 July 2017

As there is no car park for this site we parked and met in the lay-by on the A495 just after the Llynclys crossroads. This is a public space so there is always a worry that there will be no room but, fortunately, there was just enough space for our cars.

Kitted up we started the long (for us) walk to the site.

Needless to say we were distracted on the way. Indeed on the road that led to the path that led to the quarry we found early instar woundwort shieldbugs in the bordering vegetation. 

Close to the gate to the path a common froghopper was photographed. 

Photograph: Bob Kemp
Common froghoppers come in a wide range of colours and patterns. This was one combination that I do not recall seeing before. Fortunately their other features are distinctive making identification reasonably straightforward.

The first part of the ascent to the quarry starts through pleasant woodland which gets increasingly dense. It is a bit of a surprise therefore when the path suddenly opens out into a clearing with a distant view of Llanymynech rocks.

This was a wonderful spot and we spent some time seeking out things of interest. One special sighting was a Silver washed fritillary. It was very flighty but eventually it settled and posed for photographs.

We watched the butterfly for ages. So transfixed were we that the butterfly clearly thought that we were part of the scenery. It circled around us getting closer and closer until it chose the ideal spot to land - the left eyebrow of one of the watchers.

Regrettably I muffed my chance. I was not quick enough with my camera to photograph the event. The butterfly took off. Then it checked my pocket. Finding nothing of interest it flew off.

What an experience!

To reach the quarry we had to re-enter the wood.

And make our way up a muddy, rock and wood strewn path, through the "Stygian gloom" of a wet, wet wood.

Do not be fooled by the brightness of the photograph - it was much darker.

Eventually we could see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Where the path opens out into the first of the two quarries.

This is a delightful place and looking around it took us until well after lunch time.

Here are photographs of some of the things we found. There is no need for words to distract you!
Migrant hawker -  Photograph: Jim Cresswell
Volucella pellucens - Photograph: Jim Cresswell
Evarcha falcata - Photograph: Bob Kemp
Robin's pincushion - Photograph: Jim Cresswell
Narrow-bordered five spot burnet - Photograph: Jim Cresswell
Ruddy darter
Meadow grasshopper - Photograph: David Williams
Eristalis interruptus - Photograph: Bob Kemp
Xanthogramma pedisequum - Photograph: Jim Cresswell
Aphrophora alni - Photograph: Jim Cresswell
Small skipper - Photograph: David Williams
 As I was climbing out of the quarry I heard the shout "TIGER". 

Bravely, as it may have been an escaped big cat - you must have heard of the Telford puma - I returned - to find several people staring at a clump of meadowsweet. 

One of them pointed to a moth.

Photograph: David Williams
A scarlet tiger. To confirm its name it flew off displaying a vivid scarlet hindwing.

We left the quarry to visit the second quarry and the land that lies between.

It was a bit of a climb.

A pause for breath was needed. As our heart rates returned to normal someone noticed a Six-belted clearwing moth on a flower head. This was such an exciting find it is worth two photographs - the second showing a bit of technological wizardry.

Photograph: Bob Kemp
Photograph: David Williams
A few of us descended into the second quarry - the rest "busied themselves" at the top. The descent was worth it as we were met by a large number of orchids when we reached the bottom. This one is a Fragrant orchid.

Photograph: David Williams
Time, as always, was marching on. We made our way back to the clearing where we were met by a friend

Silver-washed fritillary - Photograph: Jim Cresswell
Whilst a few of us had a sit down to enjoy the afternoon sunshine and the view others were restless and set about exploring the area beyond the clearing.

They came across a "nest" of sawfly larvae:

Neurotoma saltuum (?) - Photograph: Bob Kemp
And a few more fluttery things:

Comma - Photograph: Jim Cresswell
Shaded broad bar - Photograph: Jim Cresswell
Meadow browns - Photograph: Jim Cresswell
Time to go.

What a splendid day!

My thanks to Shropshire Wildlife Trust for granting us permission to do what we enjoy doing. Once again I am indebted to the photographers Jim Cresswell, David Williams and Bob Kemp for taking such wonderful pictures and allowing me to to use them to illustrate this piece.

Finally a big thank you to everyone who reads this for showing an interest in what we get up to.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please feel free to comment on this post...