28 July 2014

A clouded yellow butterfly

This afternoon I spotted a solitary clouded yellow butterfly (Colias croceus) visiting the march thistle flowers in Holman Wood field.

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There have been sightings of this immigrant species from several places in Sussex this year, so maybe we will get an invasion. 

Some years ago we saw a female ovipositing on bird’s-foot trefoil in Pond Wood on the east of Brede High Woods.  I took one egg home and kept it until it turned into a butterfly, then took it back to Pond Wood.

To our surprise there were maybe a dozen clouded yellows in the area.  However, the species cannot survive the English winter, so these brief colonies will not be able to persist.

The second generation of common blue butterflies (Polyommatus icarus) is on the wing. 


Although it was still warm and sunny at about 3.3pm, this female decided she would settle down on a rush stem.  If you look at the tuft of brown flowers on the stalk, you will see a small, white, sausage-like protuberance on the left.  This is the larval case of a Coleophorid micro-moth.  They are usually very common on rush flower heads.

7 July 2014

Another yellow one

On the bank at the edge of the road where Frymans Lane meets Powdermill Lane (TQ80651934) there are a couple of quite distinctive spikes of the yellow flowers of fringed loosestrife (Lysimachia verticillaris) which grows as a native in north and east Turkey, Caucasia, Crimea and northern Iran.  The identity has been confirmed by Hugh McAllister, an expert on this genus. 


Quite where it has come from locally is difficult to suggest.  It is certainly a garden escape, but this particular corner is not the best place for fly tipping garden waste.  It apparently does not set viable seed in this country.

McAllister’s paper on this group of plants is here: http://archive.bsbi.org.uk/Wats22p279.pdf