Large skipper

burnet companion
Now onwards is the best time to go out butterfly watching: Kingston Cemetery is one of the top local sites  for sheer diversity of species with lots of browns; including good numbers of ringlets, which have made a come back locally  as well as meadow browns (although they won't like the hot dry weather to come next week). Large and small skippers are showing well, now that the grass has been left to grow long.

pupating caterpillar 

Burnet companions are a dayflying moth - a confusion species for dingy skippers - especially when they are found on their food plant (birds-foot trefoil).

A migratory painted lady butterfly was a random sighting in the old part of the cemetery last weekend. It was seen whilst admiring a caterpillar pupating on the branch of an elm, only  recently planted by members of the Cemetery Wildlife Group (see earlier post). Unfortunately, it is not thought to be a white-letter hairstreak where London wide the count is less than 10 sightings, due to the loss of elms to disease.

marbled white
There are good numbers of marbled whites this year and fresh specimens were found at the cemetery last week. They can be found at sites with unimproved rough grassland such  as Tolworth Court Farm and  the Moated Manor site. They have also been recorded flying around  St. John's, Worcester Park, due to the  conservation management of the grassland in the churchyard. Another grassland butterfly- preferring finer grasses in well drained grasslands - is the small heath. There are about 200 records with a south-west London bias these days - with Cranford Park the nearest; I found one at Kings Field recreation ground Hampton Wick last week, seen whilst waiting for my guitar to be restrung.

Silver-washed fritillery 
For something very special - try Princes Coverts for the woodland queens; the silver - washed fritilleries nectaring on blackberry flowers. The males fly down from the tree tops and add colour to the woodland glades, especially in the western quadrant. London records total about 30 in any given year with Chapel Bank the best site. An aberration is the Glanville Fritillery; there has been a random introduction of this species at a Surrey site. ~100 have been recorded  at a London site where it may have introduced itself. The laval foodplant is ribwort plantain. see previous post on Lady Elizabeth de Glanville. I haven't seen any but I am looking.

Two shade tolerant, white admirals were also on the wing this weekend, although there was not much evidence of the laval food plant, the honeysuckle. I am not aware of any London records for this species except occasional sightings at Ruislip Woods.


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