Monday, 5 August 2013

THE CHALKHILL BLUE (lysandra coridon)




 As with most species, male butterflies emerge first, usually in mid-July, and if the weather is suitable with opportunities for regular nectaring, will live for seven weeks. Quite often though, August is the only month one can be sure of seeing the Chalkhill Blue. It is confined to southern England particularly over the north and south downs, the Wiltshire downs, Chilterns, Cotswolds, Isle of Wight and Purbeck. It is very rare in south-west England and East Anglia.


 The males are very obvious in flight or when sitting resting on plants as their powder blue colour and large size make them quite unique.




The male has a pale powder blue upper wing surface which may vary from a very pale silvery blue through to a greenish tinted blue according to locality, although it always has the outer wing margin of a blackish band with six or seven partly submerged black dots to each wing, completed by a narrow white outer margin.



 The female is dark brownish-black or soot colour, and her rows of black dots have very slightly orange-tinted surrounds, followed by a dingy white outer border.


The under sides of both sexes are respectively greyish and in the female pale brownish. Both have 10 black, white-circled dots on the forewings, and 12 on the hind wings, then a border of black dots, faintly orange-circled in the female.


This year looks like being a good year for the Chalkhill Blue....a couple of weeks ago I visited a site where I know there's a good breeding colony and you can be assured of seeing them in reasonable numbers, but  I was greeted by the spectacular sight of large numbers taking nutrients from, of all things, cow pats! I counted at least 30 individuals on one cow pat alone,  and there were more on the surrounding cow pats!




And then yesterday I visited a new site (for me) less than three miles from home where they were so numerous that it was difficult not to step on them!  

Many were busy making sure that there's a great prospect of a good emergence for next year!

18 comments:

FOREST SNAPPER said...

This has been a great read Trevor, with great photos, all i need to do now is find one......maybe on the Cotswolds.


peter

Margaret Adamson said...

HI Trevor Well who needs a book when you can produce wonderful close ups and information about this beautiful Butterfly! Great shots. You say that it is on the I.O.W., I will be there in the middle of this month so perhaps I will see it. Thanks for all your help with my post today.

Bob Bushell said...

The Chalkhill Blue, I have never seen one, but, I can spot yours, brilliant photos.

The Herald said...

Thanks Peter, hopefully you'll get to see some soon!...[;o)

Thanks Margaret. I hope you'll get to find some when you visit the I.O.W. try Bonchurch Down between Shanklin and Ventnor and Compton Down to the east of Freshwater Bay...[;o)

Thanks very much Bob...[;o)

douglas mcfarlane said...

I agree with what Margaret has said about this post, from both yours and a couple other blogs I'm slowly learning more and more about flying animals other then birds.
Great looking butterfly and great images, weirdly my favourite is of the one with loads on a cow pat, what sight that must have been.

ADRIAN said...

You have excelled today. The best post I've ever seen. Words fail me and that is some compliment.
Perfectly written and magical pictures.
You should have asked your mate to do the voice over...Keith is better than Attenborough.

The Herald said...

Thanks Douglas. I can see you'll soon be turning your hand, or should I say lens, to butterfly photography!
It was a great sight to see so many gathered on the cow pat that for some time I was transfixed and forgot about taking any photos!!...[;o)

The Herald said...

Thanks Adrian. That sure is some complement!...being able to render the wordsmith speechless!...lol.
I did take some video of them on the cow pat but after half a dozen failed attempts to upload it to YouTube I uttered a polite Oh Dear!...and gave up!!
I don't think I could afford the 'maestro's' voice over fees!!...[;o)

ADRIAN said...

Keith, is brilliant at voice over. I'm surprised he hasn't been picked up by country filial.
I would be up for that. My saying " It's a moth....No it's a butterfly..well I'll be blowed it's a crow."
Kick opening red boxes and guessing off the airwaves.
What's the little bearded tosser called? The one does opening boxes. I've just remembered. Nowellies in Edmonton.
They need.
Two idiots and you on prime time TV.
I can guess and you could put me right. Keith could talk.....Perfect!

holdingmoments said...

A great set Trevor, but I have to say the cow-pat is exceptional.

(good to know I'm not alone with some 'crap' pictures lol)

Roy Norris said...

Super images Trevor. I have seen a lot of pairs mating so all being well next year should be OK for this lovely species.

Carole M. said...

enjoyed seeing these bautiful butterfly photographs Trevor. Seems a little odd that they should favour the cow-pats, but how else could you get a photo with so many in one hit?

grammie g said...

Hi Trevor.. Wow what a great post!
Love,love, those photo's even the "crappy one" ; )!!
Just amazing the color, and abundance of them !!
Great catch on that last shot It's a good thing they don't where wellies, but if they where your leaky ones they would be all set to carry on the populations !! : )
Grace

Our photos said...

Beautiful photos!

The Herald said...

Adrian, I'm sure the three of us would make a good team, but are our public ready us just yet?...[;o)

Thanks Keith, Yeh it was amazing to see so many butterflies on the cow pat, and not just one, they were on many of the cow pats as I walked further along!
Can I see a theme of 'crap' pictures developing here?..lol...[;o)

Thanks Roy, fingers crossed for next year!...[;o)

Thanks Carole. Yeh, it was good to see so many gathered together in one place, they get the salts and nutrients that they need from the cow pats (and other poo!)...[;o)

Hi Grace. Thank you, It was good to see so many together in one place. It's a good job there was no one around (I hope!) to see me laying full stretch on the ground with my nose inches away from a cow pat, the things we do for our 'art'..lol!
hhmmm?...I guess we've all, from time to time, had our worries over leaky wellies!!...[;o)

The Herald said...

Our photos, thank you...[;o)

Maria said...

Absolutely delightful colour and great quality!

The Herald said...

Maria, thank you...[;o)