We had a good day today and I took a lot of photos, but I have to dedicate this post to the Marsh Fritillary. We met up with the very friendly John Nicholls. He showed me “Micro-Moths”. I have never heard of them before and if I had seen one on a Buttercup I would have thought it was some kind of bug! He showed us: Glyphipterix Simpliciella (aka Cocksfoot Moth) and Micropterix Calthella. Now, there is no way I could get a picture of these Moths, especially hand held so here’s some links to UK Moths’ website for anyone who is interested. Amazing!
http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?bf=391 and http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=723.
John went off hunting for Moths at Ninestones after our chat, only to return a short while afterwards to show us what he had really been looking for; Marsh Fritillaries. Not one, but two and copulating! They were beautiful. What a privilege. We took some pictures and then left the loving pair to it, under a leaf! We met up with Steve and Patricia a short while afterwards and went back to the site. By the time they parted they must have been copulating for about an hour and a half that we knew of, so who knows how long they were actually together. Roger told me this evening that he knew of a record of copulation, which was 9 days (I hope that’s right). The ones we saw looked exhausted today so I cannot imagine what 9 days would do to them! My photos are below, but treat yourself to a viewing of Steve Rogers’ images and information on the rare Marsh Fritillary at: http://www.swopticsphoto.com/