Wednesday 25 July 2007

25 July 2007 - Stockbridge Down, Hants

Having seen all the Britsh Breeding butterflies (bar Mountain Ringlet), new species were going to be few and far between. News of a Black-veined White a few days ago was intruging - news of it being refound and showing again, was too good not to go for it.

After collecting John Clements we headed out West in glorious Kent sunshine - spirits were definately high - this was going to be easy. M20, M26, M25 - and then it started to cloud over... By the time we passed Dougal's house at Guildford the wind had got up and it was starting to drizzle - damn it! Still, the weather finally persuaded Doug not to come along for a trip that wasn't going to produce anything.

In for a penny, in for a pound - we carried on until reaching Stockbridge Down. The drizzle then turned to rain, then drizzle again - we got wet, then wetter still as we aimlessly and somewhat pointlessly, mooched around kicking up the occasional Meadow Brown and white spp - but no Black-veined White.

Captain Clements gave up and left me to get wetter as I searched the site with two guys from Exeter - dejection. After bloody ages of searching the herbage I searched one last small patch of vegetation and there hanging upsidedown deep in the undergrowth was a very distinctive looking butterfly - a Black-veined White!

The Exeter boys were called over to enjoy the finding and start the celebrations while I ran back to the car to gather up John who by now had sucessfully managed to get the car windows all steamed up - hmmm. It is fair to say that John didn't believe my, "Get out the car now, I've found it", claims - until I insisted. Sure enough he was able to stagger out the car and witness this highly amusing relocation.

Black-veined White

Before leaving, I stuck two branches in the soil 6 feet either side of the roosting butterfly. A call through to Dougal finally convinced him to hit the road - in the drizzle.

I would really loved to have witnessed Doug's arrival at Stockbridge Down an hour or so later - he pulled up, parked up and walked up to a Doctor and his family as they, very sodden, were finishing their unrewarded searches. Asking if they'd had any joy, he was rather unsurprised at their complete lack of success - then, he looked around and saw two branches 12 feet apart. "Follow me", he surprisingly announced and led the family party over to a small clump of vegetation where a short search of the correct plant revealed a perfectly peaceful, Black-viened White.

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