North Downs Butterflies

On a calm, hot evening the chalkhill blues at White Hill reserve above Shoreham settle to roost on a steep slope of dying grasses in the last patches of warming sun; they latch on head down, one side facing the sun so the other will then catch the morning light, and simply stop.

After monumental summer storms that strip the humidity from the air the evening before, the morning is bright and warm at Queensdown Warren; the Adonis and chalkhill blues are chasing over the turf as are common blues, meadow browns and brown arguses.  The thick turf is green and in good health, except where rabbits have dug; it has survived the summer drought better than amenity grasslands most of which appear dull brown and dead this August.

Chalk downs-4
Evening storm across the North Downs; most of which is intensively cultivated

The dense banks of knapweed at the base of the down are full of butterflies, bees and an occasional hornet; it is a silent, feeding frenzy.  The wild basil plants appear to hold no attraction for any insect.

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