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Monday, 31 July 2017

Migrant Hawker female, Aeshna mixta today in Cuckfield, West Sussex, UK

 This fine female dragonfly and others were flying around my garden today.

Do you know clubs or societies interested in speakers on the wildlife of S.E. England?
Then please see for my illustrated talk on Dragonflies and Damselflies.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Ichneumon wasps today in Sussex.

In the UK we have approximately 2,500 species of ichneumonid. Making up almost 10% of all British insects.  They are notoriously difficult to identify.  Ref:  Beginner’s guide to identifying British ichneumonids 

What an diverse range of insects.  There were also lots of Chrysops caecutiens horseflies attempting to bite me, which was quite unpleasant today in the Loder valley.

Friday, 28 July 2017

The Dundas Aqueduct, Bath: a short walk to the Kennet and Avon canal from the Combe Grove Hotel.

This is the view from the magnificent Combe Grove Hotel looking southwards over the river Avon valley.
From the hotel you can walk to the canal in a half an hour.

 Take the steps in front of the lawn and walk to the driveway to Brassknocker Hill,
passing under the stone arch.

 You walk through delightful mature woodland of ash, oak, beech and laurel.
 Turn left at the busy road for 30 metres or so and cross the road to the milepost where the footpath descends steeply down the hill.
There had been torrential rain before our walk on Saturday 22 July 2017 and the path was slippery.
Stout boots or shoes are essential.  After such rain the ground was a little muddy in places: nothing compared to Sussex though.
Local enthusiasts have installed kissing gates on the path.  There are no awkward stiles to climb over.

 Sheep are in the fields and there far-reaching views of the Avon valley.

 Now the canal aqueduct comes into view.  And the main road.
Leave the field gingerly: traffic seems to pass within inches of the gate!
 Cross the road and a narrow path runs from the beginning of the lay by steeply down to the canal.

 Off this basin is the entrance to the narrow coal canal below.
 Click on the pictures to enlarge them and read all the information.

A walkers' and cyclists' heaven.
This short walk is just delightful and the aqueduct is inspirational.
We must come back and make more time to explore this canal network.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Butterflies in my garden in Cuckfield today

 A hot, sunny day brought out a fine display of butterflies, including Silver-washed Fritillary,


 and Meadow Brown.
A Red Admiral, Peacock and Large White were also on the wing.

Emperor dragonfly laying eggs in a garden pond, West Sussex, UK

 This Emperor dragonfly, Anax imperator was laying eggs in a garden pond,  in Cuckfield, West Sussex, UK this afternoon.
 Wishful thinking but if her larvae attacked baby newts, then maybe there might be some frogs next year.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Spectacular display of Fifteen Butterflies species, beautiful "Pride of Sussex" and other flowers, and other amazing insects on Wolstonbury Hill today

It was perfect weather for a gentle stroll across the whole area of Wolstonbury Hill, West Sussex today with François Piolino who had a day off from singing in his fourth year at Glyndebourne Opera House, this year in Ariadne auf Noxos.  François is a tenor who sings in opera houses throughout the world and who loves to return to Sussex.

As he says, "It is always a great pleasure to sing at Glydebourne -- and my joy is enhanced on days off by walking the Sussex Downs and photographing the many rare orchids, flowers and butterflies.
Today was very special with so many lovely things to see topped by "The Pride of Sussex" the county flower of Sussex.

Marbled White

Meadow Brown & Marbled White

François photographing "The Pride of Sussex"

Six-spot Burnet moth on "Pride of Sussex" flower.

The view to Chanctonbury Hill looking westwards.
Click to enlarge to see "Pride of Sussex" flowers

Chalkhill blue

Knapweed flower bud bursting open into an exotic flower loved by butterflies

Greater Knapweed

Pyramidal Orchid

Mating Six-spot Burnet moths on a chrysalis from which a third Burnet moth is emerging

Small Skipper


Clouded Yellow

Small Purple & Gold moth

female Common Blue?

male Common Blue

A large Skipper 

A Fritillary


Meadow Brown

Large skippers

Small copper

Red Admiral
By accident a photo' of a Small Heath was deleted.

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