Target species for filming this week have been purple and green. We dipped one, had an unexpected success with another and then filmed something entirely ASTONISHING with the third. And to continue with my colourful musings we filmed something scarlet by accident.
Ok - no prizes for guessing that Target 1 was Purple Emperor. Sadly the weather wasn't sufficiently blazingly hot and we dipped. BUT, whilst lurking around piles of fox poo in Bentley Wood (the approved PE technique) this wee gem appeared:A female Purple Hairstreak. This is our only footage of female, as they don't really do accessible - generally hiding at the tops of trees. The males are more colourful, being purple all over their uppersides. The weather wasn't really playing ball - but a trot through the woods produced this complete stunner!
Cooo! A Silver-washed Fritillary of the form valesina. Lovely thing. She (they only come in female) behaved impeccably, had a bask and a nectar and was filmed from all sides. Marvellous.
Even better - she was courted by a male, and we managed to film the amazing corkscrew courtship flight. The female does a straight-line along a glade or ride, and the male waltzes around her in a cork-screw pattern. Sometimes several males at once do this, and it's quite spectacular. The footage is jaw-dropping - and we're pretty sure it's the first time it's been filmed with a valesina. Here's a "normal" Silver-washed Frit for comparison:
Seemingly valesinas will fly in lower temperatures and on duller days. Anyway - back to my colour theme, I bring you a Scarlet Tiger: