A wonderful six-spot burnet moth on a wild scabious flower, found on Saturday on the slopes of Box Hill. It was great to find a number of day-flying moths while I was out doing The Big Butterfly Count.
The North Downs, including Box Hill, provide a truly precious habitat for many butterfly and moth species. The day was dull but warm enough to bring out a few of my favourites! Also one I had not photographed before, the marbled white. What a beauty it is!
After such a lovely reaction from people to my burnet moth image last week, I thought I’d throw this one into the hat for Wex Mondays and the Fotospeed challenge today. There’s also a gallery of some of the other beautiful butterflies I spotted. The Big Butterfly Count runs for two weeks and you can even download the Butterfly Conservation UK app to your smartphone, to help you survey areas or add individual sightings wherever you are in the country!
I have produced this portrait of a vixen for this week’s Wex Mondays challenge. I had the most wonderful encounter with her at Winkworth Arboretum during the week. I’d seen her wandering near the lake on a previous visit but that was fleeting. This week she approached close enough that I could have reached out to stroke her! Somehow I felt that actually would have been a violation of the trust she had given me. She is wild even if she is more used to the sight of people than many other countryside foxes! The most precious part of the encounter was when we made eye contact. She stood right in front of me for several minutes as I, naturally, chatted to her. I think she was mostly intrigued by the odd human in the motorised, moving chair! She stayed put even when I moved the camera to take her portrait. I wasn’t expecting her to lick her face, that was an added bonus! I then carried on photographing the busy blue tit parents, feeding their hungry brood, hidden in the boathouse walls. More on those blue tits soon! The vixen carried on exploring near me, stopping to sit and scratch, then circling all around me again. We chatted some more (you know what I mean!), I took a few more photos of her and then she resumed her patrol of the lakeside. I hope I will see her again on other visits but I will always treasure this particular encounter.